Facts about drinking and driving

Drinking and driving is a dangerous combination. Knowing the facts about drunk driving can help save someone’s life.

Since the invention of the automobile, the problem of drinking and driving has existed. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, nearly one out of three fatal car accidents involve drivers who are under the influence. During the past year in Kentucky, of all the fatalities associated with crashes, 27 percent, or 167, were due to drinking and driving. There were also over 4,500 crashes and more than 2,000 alcohol-related crash injuries.

Significant drunk driving signs

Due to the alcohol in their system, drunk drivers lack the mental ability to understand that their actions are dangerous, and they are physically unable to operate a car safely and securely. If someone is impaired while behind the wheel, they may exhibit troubling driving behavior, such as the following:

  • Driving on the opposite side of the road
  • Driving much slower than the speed limit
  • Inconsistent braking
  • Nearly hitting other cars or objects
  • No headlights on in the dark
  • Weaving in and out of traffic lanes

If a dangerous and possibly drunk driver is spotted on the road, it is recommended that motorists get as far away from them as possible. Drivers who suspect an inebriated motorist should notify law enforcement by calling 911 or the local dispatch number. These actions could help save someone's life.

The effects of alcohol on driving ability

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more is considered impaired driving under Kentucky law. Depending on a person's size and weight, this BAC may be achieved after consuming just four alcoholic drinks.

In 2012, the number of Kentucky residents who admitted to "drinking too much" and then driving was 1.5 percent. This statistic is troubling, as with a BAC of just 0.02 percent, the ability to multitask (steer and push the gas pedal, for example) or focus visually, becomes compromised. With a BAC of 0.08 percent, there are serious effects on a person's driving skills, such as perception impairment, reduction of muscle coordination, information processing issues and reduced attention span.

Zero tolerance laws and sobriety checkpoints are in place to help protect citizens and other drivers, yet the scary truth for motorists is that drunk drivers do exist on the road and their dangerous actions can have devastating consequences. Louisville residents who have been injured in an alcohol-related crash or who have experienced the loss of a loved one due to a drunk driver may want to consider speaking with an attorney in order to understand their legal options.