Alcohol and driving skills

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during 2013 there were 260 car accident fatalities in Alabama involving drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration at or over the limit of .08 percent. However, drivers with a BAC below the legal limit may also be putting others at risk on the state’s roadways. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that even one drink can cause driver impairment.

While the amount of alcohol in one drink varies, a shot of liquor, a 12-ounce can of beer or a five-ounce glass of wine is typically considered a standard drink. The way a single drink affects the body is different from person to person, and the results for one person will fluctuate based on factors such as the time of day, the amount of food eaten and other influences. Generally, though, approximately two drinks will lead to a BAC of .02 percent. Three may bump it up to .05 percent, and four usually causes a person to reach the legal limit.

Even at .02 percent, a person loses some visual function, which makes it difficult to track a moving target. There is also a loss of judgment, and it becomes harder to do two things at once. At .05 percent BAC, coordination, response time, alertness and visual function are impaired. Memory, concentration, processing ability, perception and muscle coordination are all severely affected when a person has a BAC of .08 percent. The only way to prevent impairment behind the wheel and prevent alcohol-related accidents is for a driver to abstain completely. 

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