The Dangers of Drunk Driving: Cold, Hard Facts About How Alcohol Impairs Your Driving Skills

Despite decades of research and media reports–not to mention thousands of auto accident victims–many people still fail to properly grasp the dangers of drunk driving. Yet the numbers don’t lie. Drunk driving remains a serious problem in Florida and around the country.

How serious? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths occur in “alcohol-impaired driving crashes.” In 2016, this came out to just under 10,500 fatalities. And out of that number, about 1,200 drunk-driving victims were minors between the ages of 0 and 14.

How Many Drinks Does It Take to Affect Your Driving?

The CDC has identified three groups as particularly “at-risk” for injury or death in drunk-driving crashes: young people, motorcyclists, and drivers with at least one prior DWI conviction. But the truth is, anyone is capable of drunk driving, even someone who only uses alcohol “occasionally” or maybe has a couple of beers after work.

As you probably already know, a person is guilty of DWI under Florida law if their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08 percent or higher. That is just a legal standard for determining criminal behavior, however, and not necessarily indicative of when an individual is actually impaired. Many auto accidents are caused by drivers who only had one or two drinks and are still below the 0.08 threshold.

In fact, some studies show that a BAC as low as 0.02 can increase the risk that a driver will get into an accident by nearly 40 percent. To put this into context, the typical Florida man weighing 180 pounds may be able to consume as many as 4 drinks before hitting the 0.08 threshold–but after just 1 drink, they will already be at 0.02. So even a driver who had “just one drink” may cause an accident with the potential to seriously injure–or kill–someone else. And the risk of an accident only increases exponentially with each additional drink. So consuming a six-pack of beer, for example, means a driver is about 380 times more likely to cause an accident.

Remember, alcohol is toxic, hence the term “intoxication.” Even after just one or two drinks, a driver may experience significant decline in their visual acuity, which is critical when attempting to operate a motor vehicle. Drinking makes it more difficult to track moving objects and respond immediately to changes in the environment, all of which contribute to the increased likelihood of an accident.

This also helps explain why teenagers are at higher risks for drunk driving accidents. Teen drivers already lack the same degree of motor skills and experience behind the wheel as most adults. When combined with alcohol–and yes, there are plenty of kids who ignore the Florida drinking age of 21–this makes a drunk teen driver especially dangerous.

Do You Need Help From a Miami Car Accident Lawyer?

When drunk driving accidents happen, innocent victims are left picking up the pieces. If you or a family member have suffered due to a drunk driver’s irresponsibility, you need to seek legal advice on what steps to take next.

The Miami car accident lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP can assess your case and help you obtain compensation for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. Schedule a consultation by calling our office at (305) 371-2692 or visiting us online.