Drinking and Driving: A Notion That Must End

It’s beyond a shadow of doubt that drinking and driving are not good bed fellows. In fact according to the 2009 statistics on drunk driving, there were 10,839 traffic fatalities in the United States alone. That it’s the leading cause of death among persons below the age of 22 to 16 in the world. These grim figures don’t come close to really representing the dark picture of driving under the influence of alcohol. And so before you take on the driver’s seat you should ask yourself if you are sure you aren’t drunk to drive, after a couple of drinks.

The science of alcohol activity to the neurological aspects of body is well documented. Alcohol impacts our judgment, affects depth perception, ability to see things clearly, total concentration, good coordination and good reflexes. When you ingest alcohol, it’s readily taken up into the blood stream from the walls of the stomach and small intestines. It travels through the blood to the brain. Here it slowly affects neurological path ways and nerve cells. Later the alcohol is taken up in to the liver where it is metabolized slowly into non-toxic compounds.

Of course higher concentration of alcohol have a bigger impact than lower concentration. If taken in excessive quantities beyond a given limit alcohol could affect respiration that may lead to an alcohol induced coma. Also it leads to alcohol poisoning where functions of the liver stop temporarily due to heavy quantities of alcohol.

The concept of safe drink driving is a misconception. Most countries have now understood this and have set the limits of the allowed blood alcohol concentration (BAC) low to curb drunk driving. BAC as low as 0.05 are fined. Minors and learners are allowed an alcohol limit of 0.00. A BAC of 0.02 to 0.05 leads to reduced inability to see and hear, reduced depth perception, increased risk taking and decreased stimuli response. A BAC of above 0.05 to 0.08 leads to reduced ability to see red lights, lowered reaction & response and shortened concentration spans. And finally above 0.08 to 0.12 leads to euphoria, reckless driving, impaired peripheral vison, impaired perception of obstacles and ten times likely to cause an accident. Above 0.12 leads to alcohol induced sleep or worse coma.

DUI or Driving under the influence is termed as the act of operation a motor vehicle with BAC levels exceeding accepted limits. If field sobriety test or breathalyser test conforms to the exceeded levels you are taken into custody. If further blood alcohol concentration tests comes back confirming this levels you are prosecuted under the laws.

First time offenders lose their licences to drive for a year. With persons with multiple DUI facing the full extent of the law depending on jurisdiction. If you’re driving leads to death or near death you are charged with vehicular manslaughter for the first and attempted murder for the second and pertaining penal codes will be considered.

Understanding it takes all of us to protect our roads will reduce the notion and incidences of driving while drunk. It doesn’t take much to call an Uber or taxi to take us home, so don’t risk it.