Moderate alcohol use in a controlled environment can be safe, but excessive use — which is often not as much as people think — by those who then get behind the wheel can turn deadly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that one person is killed in a DUI crash every 50 minutes. This results in 29 deaths per day, and that’s not even counting non-fatal injury accidents.
Drunk driving is a serious problem on Virginia’s roadways. Below are a few of the specific ways that alcohol impairs a person’s ability to drive.
- It slows down the driver’s reaction time. A sudden change that would normally be easy to react to — like a car up ahead suddenly hitting the breaks — is now enough to cause a crash.
- It breaks down the driver’s natural inhibitions. A person who is normally a slow, careful driver may be tempted to take risks or exceed the speed limit.
- It makes it harder for the driver’s eyes to focus. This is why a drunk driver may hit a pedestrian in the street, for instance, without ever seeing him or her.
- It reduces muscle coordination. This can make it harder to manipulate the car’s controls even when the driver does identify a risk.
- It impairs judgement and makes it harder to spot dangers. Driving a car is very risky in the best conditions, and a person who is disconnected from that risk can make mistakes.
Have you been hit by a drunk driver? If you suffered serious injuries, you need to know your rights to financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more.
Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “Drunk Driving,” accessed March 19, 2018