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How does alcohol affect driving ability?

It is no secret that far too many motorists climb behind the wheel of their vehicle after consuming alcoholic beverages. Sometimes these individuals are not impaired at all or minimally so, and get to their destination without incident. Other times, though, these drivers are under the influence and their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is seriously compromised. In these instances, a severe drunk driving accident could occur, leaving destruction and as well as physical, emotional and financial pain and suffering.

But exactly how does alcohol affect one's ability to drive? According to the CDC, having a blood alcohol concentration or BAC of just .02 percent, which equates to the consumption of about 2 alcoholic drinks, can cause decreased visual functioning. This means that it can become a little more difficult for a person with this BAC to track fast moving objects. At .05 percent, or three alcoholic drinks, coordination can be reduced, steering may become difficult and response time can lag.

At the legal limit, .08 percent, concentration can be affected and an individual may have trouble controlling speed. Perception can be distorted and information processing in the brain can be slowed. Once a driver reaches .10 to .15 percent BAC, he or she may find it hard to stay in his or her lane, brake appropriately and adequately pay attention to the task of driving.

Sadly, despite having this knowledge, many drivers still choose to drive while impaired. When an accident results and innocent individuals are harmed, they may have a long road to recovery ahead of them. By filing a lawsuit, though, they may be able the speed up the process, as a successful claim against a drunk driver may bring them much needed compensation to help cover lost wages and medical expenses.

Source: CDC, "Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)," accessed on Oct. 12, 2015

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