It's no secret that driving under the influence is extremely dangerous, often resulting in injury to innocent people who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this post, our Joplin car accident lawyers share 10 facts about alcohol use and its impact on roadway safety.
1. The effect of alcohol use on an individual varies from person to person and depends on several different factors, including gender, weight, amount of fat tissue, and stomach contents. Some people become impaired more quickly than others.
2. It's the amount of alcohol you drink that determines your impairment, not the type of alcohol. A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 72-proof liquor - all of these contain about the same amount of alcohol (approximately 0.54 ounces).
3. The only way to sober up is to wait: the average individual metabolizes about one drink per hour. All those tricks you've heard about - eating, drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, etc. - will not make you sober any faster.
4. Alcohol use has proven to impair driving performance in numerous ways, including slowing your brain functions (making it more difficult to assess and respond to driving situations); reducing your ability to judge speed and distance; and limiting your ability to perform one than one driving task at a time (steering, scanning traffic, etc.).
5. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that a driver's chances of causing a fatal crash increases steadily with blood alcohol content (BAC). Crash risk spikes dramatically after a driver's BAC reaches 0.05%, and continues to rise even more rapidly after reaching 0.08% (the legal limit).
6. More than 1.4 million U.S. drivers were arrested for driving under the influence in 2010. Sadly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that's only about 1% of the 112 million episodes of self-reported drunk driving that occur each year.
7. Nearly 30 Americans are killed in alcohol-related accidents every day, which amounts to a drunk driving death every 48 minutes.
8. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, alcohol is a main contributing factor in Missouri's serious traffic crash experience. In 2011, 208 people were killed and 3,625 more were injured in accidents involving an impaired driver. Alcohol use was a factor in 26.8% of 2011 fatal crashes throughout the state.
9. Drunk drivers face criminal charges when they cause accidents resulting in injury, which may include DUI, assault and manslaughter.
10. In addition to criminal charges, impaired drivers may also be subject to personal injury lawsuits filed by the victims of these accidents.