There is no legal excuse for drunk driving. Those drivers who injure or kill others while under the influence of alcohol are negligent and the law holds them liable for the injuries and damages they cause.
If you were hurt in a drunk driving accident in Irvine, Orange County, Riverside, or Riverside County, Avrek Law Firm, can help you recover top dollar for your losses. To learn more, call us at 1.888.333.5009 or fill out this form.
Why Drunk Driving is so Dangerous
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a leading cause of injury and death on America’s roadways. Every 90 seconds, a person in the United States is injured in a drunk driving crash. Someone dies every 53 minutes in an alcohol-impaired driving crash. In addition to the human cost of drunk driving, these accidents cost an estimated $132 billion annually.
Despite the prevalence of drunk driving awareness campaigns, the behavior remains common. In 2010, some 4 million U.S. adults drove under the influence of alcohol at least once. And while Zero Tolerance Laws seem to be having some positive impact on alcohol-related crashes, many drunk drivers are unfazed by the threat of punishment. Consider this sobering fact from the Centers for Disease Control: an average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest.
Everyone knows that drunk driving is reckless. But to understand exactly why getting behind the wheel after drinking is a recipe for disaster, it helps to take a look at the effects of alcohol on the body.
Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it reduces neurological activity. Specifically, alcohol increases the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter known as GABA and inhibits the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. The result is a double slowdown in the brain and textbook drunken behavior such as stumbling, clumsiness, and slurred speech. More generally, the brain effects of alcohol manifest in the following ways:
- Slowed reaction times;
- Reduced coordination, concentration, and comprehension;
- Diminished ability to judge speed, time, and distance;
- Loss of vision and hearing acuity; and
- Reduced reason and caution
Over 200 decisions are made during every mile of driving. Due to reduced neurological function, drunk drivers are more likely to make a wrong decision that results in harm to other drivers and pedestrians.
Below the Legal Limit Doesn’t Mean Safe
The legal blood alcohol limit in California, as in other states, is .08 percent. For a 180-pound man to reach that limit, he typically has to consume four drinks in 90 minutes. A 120-pound woman can reach it after as few as two drinks. Drivers who are found by police to have blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and face a number of punishments, including jail, fines and penalties, and license suspension.
Just because .08 is the legal limit, however, doesn’t mean it’s the absolute limit for safe driving. In California and other states drivers who have a BAC less than .08 may still be arrested for DUI if the officer believes they are impaired.
The justification for these two types of DUI is based on the finding that a single drink can impair coordination and judgment. At levels as low as .02 BAC visual function declines. At .05 muscle control, judgment, and alertness are impaired. In fact, drivers with a BAC of 0.05 percent are 38 percent more likely to be in an accident than drivers who have not consumed any alcohol. A BAC of 0.08 percent makes drivers 169 percent more likely to be in a crash. The statistics are increasingly grim as BAC increases. Sixty-nine percent of 2011 California alcohol-impaired driving fatalities involved drivers with BAC of .15 or higher.
Contact our Irvine Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Today
There is no doubt that alcohol impairs driving ability. Just a single drink can cause somebody to make a critical mistake behind the wheel that results in catastrophic harm to others. Avrek Law Firm, has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to negligent driving. We aggressively represent drunk driving accident victims and fight hard to get them the compensation they need and deserve.
Schedule a free initial case review with Avrek Law Firm, by calling 1.888.333.5009 or completing this contact form.
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving: Drunk Driving Statistics
- United States Department of Transportation: Drunk Driving by the Numbers
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Impaired Driving
- The Century Council: California Drunk Driving State Facts
- California Office of Traffic Safety: California Traffic Safety Score Card
- Addiction: the relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration in fatal motor vehicle accidents
- Forbes.com: What Alcohol Really Does to Your Brain