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Eve11
April 10th, 2009, 10:56 AM
Sources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
American Medical Association
National Commission Against Drunk Driving
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

It's not a question of whether you are legally intoxicated, it's a question of whether or not it is safe to drive when you have consumed any amount of alcohol. Research shows that impairment begins long before a person reaches the blood alcohol concentration level necessary to be guilty of drunken driving.

The Legal Limit
In all 50 states, the legal limit for drunk driving is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08. A 120-pound woman can reach a .08 BAC level after only two drinks and a 180-pound man can be at .08 after only four drinks.

A "drink" is either one shot of liquor, a five-ounce glass of wine or one beer, all of which contain the same amount of alcohol.

At a .08 BAC level, drivers are so impaired that they are 11 times more likely to have a single-vehicle crash than drivers with no alcohol in their system. But 25 years of research has shown that some impairment begins for both males and females even after one drink.

.02 BAC Level
At the .02 blood alcohol concentration level, experiments have demostrated that people exhibit some loss of judgment, begin to relax and feel good. But tests have also shown that drivers at the .02 level experience a decline in visual functions, affecting their ability to track a moving object, and experience a decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time.

These changes may be very subtle and barely noticable to the person who has had only one drink, but in an emergency situation while behind the wheel of a vehicle, they could cause the driver to react (or not react) as they would without having had a drink.

.05 BAC Level
At the .05 BAC level, people begin to exhibit exaggerated behavior, experience loss of small-muscle control -- such as being able to focus their eyes quickly -- have impaired judgment, lowered alertness and a release of inhibition.

If someone with a BAC level of .05 gets behind the wheel, they would be operating the vehicle with reduce coordination, a futher deminished ability to track moving objects, more difficulty in steering and a markedly reduced response in emergency situations.

.08 BAC Level
When someone drinking is approaching the borderline of legal intoxication, studies show that he or she has poor muscle coordination -- affecting their balance, speech, vision, reaction time and hearing -- find it more difficult to detect danger, and exhibit impaired judgement, self-control, reasoning ability and memory.

A driver with a BAC of .08 will find it more difficult to concentrate, judge the speed of the vehicle, experience reduced information processing capability and exhibit impaired perception.

Slower Reaction Time
For the person who is drinking, the above impairments may be hardly noticeable at the time, but the slow reaction times that they can produce could prove fatal in a emergency driving situation. That's why it is not a good idea to drive no matter how much or how little that you have had to drink.

There is another consideration: Alcohol affects people differently. Some people have a higher response to drinking alcohol than others. In other words, people with a high response to alcohol can experience signs of impairment at the .02 BAC level that others do not experience until the .05 level.

The Safe Limit
For this reason, in some states drivers can be arrested for driving while impaired even if their blood alcohol concentration is lower than the legal limit, if the law enforcement officer believes he has probable cause based on the behavior and reactions of the driver.

It's simply not a wise choice to get behind the wheel no matter how much you have had to drink. The only safe driving limit is .00 percent.

********
A note:
Some of the moms here have shared they feel guilty drinking alone at night when the kids are home.

1. What if you had to make an unexpected trip to the ER and you'd been drinking?

2. This report shows that people can be affected differently. I remember one time having 2 sips of a glass of wine and I immediately felt drunk!! What was with that??? I remember my mother-in-law looking at me rather shocked and so was I. I was hungry (we were at a restaurant) and I was tired, but I'd never been affected that quickly before with SO little. Imagine if I was going to drive!!

3. Isn't it easy to meet for cocktails after work with the gang? I used to have two and drive. Then I changed it to one. Now, I'm thinking I'm never drinking and driving again!

Eve11:l

Beaches
April 10th, 2009, 12:18 PM
Certainly puts it all in perspective, thank Eve.

Accountable for Me
April 10th, 2009, 01:10 PM
I remember back in the 70's/early 80's our parents would drive around while drinking beers. There were no seat belt laws either. So our parents would be chugging beers while we were loose in the car. Or loose in the back of a truck! Or a camper! Pretty scary stuff.

I know for me that some days I get buzzed from very little alcohol and other days I can drink an ocean full and still walk. I totally get what you have posted Evie. Thanks for posting it.

Saint Jude
April 10th, 2009, 04:17 PM
AFM, I remember those days too. Riding w/out seatbelts...I clearly remember Mom's arm always reaching across the seat, whenever we slowed down or she hit the brakes.:confused:
I don't think we ever wore seatbelts when I was a kid. Not even sure we had any!

Also remember many an hour spent in the parking lot (in the car) of the local tavern waiting for Mom & Dad...

Thanks for the great post Eve.

Accountable for Me
April 10th, 2009, 05:27 PM
Saint Jude;590377 wrote: AFM, I remember those days too. Riding w/out seatbelts...I clearly remember Mom's arm always reaching across the seat, whenever we slowed down or she hit the brakes.:confused:
I don't think we ever wore seatbelts when I was a kid. Not even sure we had any!

Also remember many an hour spent in the parking lot (in the car) of the local tavern waiting for Mom & Dad...

Thanks for the great post Eve.
Do I ever remember sitting in the parking lots! Tooo funny! :H And the whole arm across ya thing. That is hilarious! My dad use to do that when he had to slow down fast. Another thing I remember is my parents smoked in the car with the windows rolled up. :confused: They just passed a law here. If you smoke in the car with a kid under 16 you will be fined.

Life has become a total drag, hasn't it? J/K

Eve11
April 10th, 2009, 07:32 PM
Saint Jude;590377 wrote: Also remember many an hour spent in the parking lot (in the car) of the local tavern waiting for Mom & Dad...I'm with you St. Jude et al,

No seatbelts were even in the cars from what I remember!

But the worse part was waiting hours and hours for my dad on the way home from the big town we would go to 1 1/2 hours away. He'd finally get in the car only to stop a-g-a-i-n!!

Seems like most of the adults were drunks in my tiny town and they drank and drove ALL of the time. My dad was a regular for going into the ditch. Honestly, it got embarrassing as a teen that he was in the ditch a-g-a-i-n!!

Some memories we can do without!
Hugs all,
Eve11

changemylife
April 10th, 2009, 09:29 PM
I remember falling out of the car because even though the door was locked... you could always open the door.

How did we ever survive?

Sunbeam
April 11th, 2009, 09:19 AM
My husband and I used to consume a bottle of wine at restaurant meals. Now, I may have a glass or none (depending on the distance home), he will usually have a couple of glasses and I drive. It was just one of the ways that the wine was too much in my life.

Sweaty Betty
April 11th, 2009, 09:41 AM
I was horrified to be offered a lift by a Mom who'd had at least 6 Martinis. Everyone else got in her van - I got a cab.

Bxx

rubywillow
April 11th, 2009, 06:15 PM
You should also be aware if you are in an area that is DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or DUI (Driving Under the Influence). There is a HUGE difference. Also, if you have an accident and you have anything in your system, you typically lose all credibility even if it''s not your fault.