How Alcohol Can Impair Someone's Ability to Drive Safely | Contact Sparks Law Firm Today!
It appears that not enough drivers in Texas are using good judgment and abstaining from drunk driving. Over 433 people lost their lives in impaired driving accidents in Texas alone in 2022; the state regularly ranks among the worst for drunk driving accidents. What is it about alcohol that makes driving while under the influence so dangerous? Sparks Law Firm's injury attorney in Texas explains.
The Negative Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Your Driving Ability
Alcohol has a variety of physiological effects. It is risky for anyone to engage in any activity requiring attention, skill, and coordinated movement because it not only has long-term negative impacts on a person's health but also has short-term negative effects. Decision-making and higher brain functions are all impaired, sensory perception is reduced, and nerve-to-muscle transmission is impeded, and this results in outcomes such as:
Altered judgment. Alcohol can impair a person's ability to think clearly, make wise decisions, and plan ahead. It can also promote risk-taking behaviors, all of which are necessary for driving safely.
Reduced ability to concentrate. Many people don't understand how much concentration goes into driving. However, the chance of an accident rises dramatically when a driver loses the capacity to focus on the several tasks on hand, such as driving the car, keeping it at a safe speed, staying in their lane, and avoiding other vehicles.
Loss of coordination. Alcohol affects the regions of the brain responsible for controlling driving skills, slowing reflexes, and reducing a person's capacity to steer or drive safely.
Impaired vision. Alcohol causes the muscles that control the eyes to relax, which slows down their reaction time and blurs vision. Furthermore, alcohol affects and impairs peripheral vision, making it more difficult for drunk drivers to see objects that aren't directly in front of them, such as other cars, pedestrians, and other hazards or barriers on the road.
The drunk driver may not be able to recognize dangerous situations, effectively respond to dangers, or maintain control of his or her vehicle safely as these reactions start to take effect in the body.
Therefore, impaired driving can result in a serious accident that not only harms the sober driver but also seriously wounds or kills other innocent drivers and passengers.
Comprehension. Drivers need to be able to read or interpret traffic signs, signals, and emergency situations without being impaired by alcohol. They can become easily confused or unable to respond in an emergency if they are intoxicated.
Slow coordination. Whether a person is walking to their car or turning the key in the ignition, alcohol impairs both their fine motor and gross motor skills. Furthermore, a lack of eye, hand, and foot coordination can significantly slow down a driver's reaction time and limit their ability to react to a specific situation. A decreased reaction time may result in accidents and collisions, causing injuries or fatalities.
Therefore, a person having just a "few drinks" can make safe driving a little harder for themselves, especially with Alcohol to go in Texas now.
How Blood Alcohol Concentration Levels Affect Driving Skills
When someone is stopped or involved in an accident, the law establishes inebriation in part by taking a reading of their blood alcohol content or BAC. The amount of alcohol in a person's blood, or BAC, is tested. If an individual has a BAC of 0.08 percent, it means their blood is 0.08 percent alcohol by volume. Alcohol consumption can affect the central nervous system as well as the brain; in fact, alcohol is a depressant drug.
The CDC lists the following "predictable driving effects" of various "blood alcohol content" levels:
0.02 Percent: Drivers will notice a deterioration in their visual abilities and their capacity to handle two tasks at once.
0.5 Percent: Drivers will have trouble steering, have trouble coordinating their movements, and have a slower response time. Even though a 0.05 BAC is technically below the legal limit for driving, it still affects a driver's body and brain.
0.08 Percent: Drivers will find it difficult to focus, have a reduced ability to absorb information, and have poor visual perception.
0.10 Percent: Drivers will have a lower ability to keep their lane position and stop effectively.
0.15 Percent: Drivers will experience “substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing.”
Drinking alcohol at any amount raises the possibility of a car accident, no matter how long a breathalyzer detects alcohol. An intoxicated driver is more likely to make a serious mistake that could result in serious injury or even death because of a reduced concentration level.
What Are the Most Common Types of Accidents Caused by a Drunk Driver?
All sorts of motor vehicle accidents can happen when a driver is impaired by alcohol, however, some particular accidents are more likely to happen when alcohol is a factor. Driving under the influence is strongly associated with:
Head-on and T-bone collisions at intersections
Side-to-side impact due to weaving or drifting
Drivers and passengers involved in these accidents may sustain a serious injury. As for many, making a liability claim against the intoxicated driver's car insurance will be an important part of the recovery process.
Even if the driver is charged with a DUI, accident victims will not be compensated. The victim must independently pursue a claim in order to be compensated for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
It is best for a victim to do so while being guided and defended by a top-rated DWI attorney.
What Should You Do If a Drunk Driver Injures You? Contact Sparks Law Firm
Victims have the right to claim compensation if they were wounded in an accident brought on by a drunk driver.
They are entitled to punitive damages as well as compensatory damages to make up for their losses. Compensatory damages could consist of:
Past and future medical expenses
Loss of earning potential
Non-economic “pain and suffering” damages
However, people should note that there is a limit on punitive damages in Texas. Victims may be entitled to double their economic damages and their non-economic damages; up to a maximum of $750,000.
After a car accident, the victim will need a knowledgeable attorney who will not stop until they receive the compensation the victims deserve in order to recover the entire costs of their injuries. Victims should contact Sparks Law Firm today!