Risks Involved With Drinking & Driving In Houston
DUI can be defined as driving while under the influence. It is a serious crime to drive any vehicle (car, truck, motorcycles, etc.) after consuming copious amounts of alcohol. Drinking and driving are commonly known as DUI or DWI (driving while intoxicated) and mainly involves getting behind the wheel of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more. Alcohol, even in the lowest amounts, can affect a person’s judgment, one of the reasons you shouldn’t try to operate any machinery when intoxicated. Some drivers may also not show signs of being drunk, but can still cause accidents on the road. That said, driving while under the influence is illegal and attracts a strict penalty.
Persons struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and those that binge drink are considered to be at the highest risk of driving while intoxicated. These individuals will consume large amounts of alcohol within a very short period, hence not notice they are drunk or intoxicated. According to research, alcohol takes around 30 minutes to be absorbed into the bloodstream. It is after this that signs of intoxication will start to show. The most common signs and symptoms include delayed cognitive skills, response, and slow breathing. A delayed response due to intoxication makes it almost impossible for one to make the right judgment, causing an accident.
It is worth noting that alcoholism is treatable. All one needs to do is have the right support system, such as a specialized treatment center to get help, and overcome. If you or a loved one has been struggling with alcoholism, you can get help. Look for a treatment expert or a good rehab center for help.
Alcohol (regardless of the amount) can impair your judgment hence affect how well you can drive. Drinking and driving thus increase the risk of you causing an accident. Alcohol abuse makes it hard to concentrate, react quickly to various situations, and make good judgment, hence putting you and other road users in danger.
Here are some of the ways alcohol affects your driving skills:
1. Slow Reaction Time
Alcohol slows your response time significantly. Accidents happen within a split second, one of the reasons you need to be alert and quick to react to avert one. An excellent example of this is when a pedestrian suddenly jumps into the street, or if the car in front brakes suddenly. Most people with alcohol in their system will take longer to either swerve or hit the brakes, causing an accident. This would be avoided if the driver didn’t have alcohol in the system.
2. Lack Of Coordination
Alcohol abuse affects your hand, eye, and foot coordination. This is the reason why a drunk person will have a hard time walking in a straight line. Lack of coordination will also make it hard to respond swiftly, let alone stay within your lane. In addition to this, drunkenness can make it hard to get to/in your car, or even better, be unable to start the engine. Some of the common symptoms of reduced coordination include swaying, trouble walking, and the inability to stand straight.
3. Reduced Concentration
Drinking reduces your ability to concentrate. Drivers are required to be attentive on the road to maintain the recommended speed, stay in their lanes, keep an eye on traffic signals and other cars as well. Lack of concentration, or simply taking your eyes off the road for a second, can lead to a fatal accident, which is why you shouldn’t drive while drunk.
4. Blurred Vision
Consuming too much alcohol can make it hard to see clearly. Alcohol is known to affect a person’s ability to control eye movement and cause his/her vision to be blurry. This thus means you’d be unable to judge the distance between you and other vehicles. Some people will even ‘chew’ blackout after taking one-too-many.
5. Impairs Your Judgment
Your decisions ought to be spot-on when operating a motorized vehicle. Alcohol can impair your ability to make the right decisions, and especially when required to make split-second decisions. A good example would be if a motorist cuts you off out of nowhere. As long as you are alert, you will make the split-second decision to either hit the brakes or swerve to avoid an accident. Your response and judgment wouldn’t, however, be the same if you were drunk.
How Various BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Levels Affect Your Driving In Houston
The law considers a BAC level of 0.08% legally impaired; hence one shouldn’t operate any kind of machinery. Even a lower BAC percentage or just one drink can affect your ability to drive safely. That said, it is best to avoid driving if you had a drink or two. Here are some of the ways different BAC levels affect your driving.
Slightly higher blood temperature, increased relaxation, poor judgment, mood swings, inability to multi-task, and decreased visual functionality.
BAC of 0.05%
Exaggerated behavior, lack of judgment, lack of inhibitions, lack of coordination, reduced response rate, decreased small-muscle control, and lack of watchfulness.
BAC of 0.08%
Lack of reasoning, judgment, self-control, loss of short-term memory, inability to concentrate, reduced ability to process information, and inability to control speed.
BAC of 0.10%
Remarkably slow reaction times, poor coordination, inability to control the vehicle, slurred speech, and inability to brake at appropriate times or keep the car within a lane.
BAC of 0.15%
Almost zero muscle control, no balance, impaired auditory information processing, vision, and vomiting.
Drinking & Driving Laws In Houston
The federal law constitutes driving with a BAC level of 0.08% or hire a DWI. Motor vehicles under this regulation include bicycles, trucks, cars, golf carts, jet skis, and snowmobiles. These laws, however, vary from one state to another, with fines such as revoked or suspended license and jail time being the most common. Some states may require one to do community service and/or seek alcoholism treatment.
Many states have enacted these laws in an attempt to reduce the risks of drinking and driving. Some even have zero-tolerance on adolescents driving while intoxicated. It is also illegal for persons under 21 years to drink. Such an offense attracts strict punishment. Anyone charged with underage drinking and driving faces more severe legal penalties.
A DUI or DWI conviction can affect your life in many ways. Some of these include broken relationships, families, lost employment opportunities, financial difficulties, jail term, and high insurance rates.