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Alcohol and Driving While Intoxicated

Oct 08, 1999 1274 Words
Alcohol and Driving While Intoxicated

Alcohol is a drug, a very popular drug. Alcohol has been around for a long time, and people have always enjoyed it's effects. Many people have passions for alcohol, some people have refrigerators filled with beer, many others are wine connoisseurs. Alcohol always seems to liven up the party. But no madder what your preference is, alcohol can be very dangerous when combined with the operation of an automobile. If you can remember only a few things from this report remember this: driving drunk is unsafe to you, and everyone else around you. The driver's of other cars, pedestrians, etc… Driving drunk can also be very, very costly: insurance surcharges, insurance rates, tickets, fines.

You should understand what alcohol does to you before we go on. Alcohol is a depressant, and often enhances your mood. If your angry, after a couple drinks you may be quite possibly angrier. If you are sad, you probably will feel sadder after some drinks. It is not good to drink and drive when you are in a good mood, but your driving is also influenced by your mood. It can make you drive faster, pay attention less, etc… Study's have shown that the combination of anger, and drinking is responsible for much of reckless driving. Not only can alcohol enhance your mood, but it has been proven that it can quickly alter your mood. When alcohol is consumed, it is not digested. It passes through your stomach and small intestine directly into the bloodstream and is carried to all parts of your body. It reaches your brain in small amounts. When alcohol is ingested in larger amounts, it dulls the area of your brain that control inhibition, judgment, and self-control. Hopefully you can see how this could be detrimental to your health when driving. Drinking.

But how does alcohol effect my driving? To expand upon this, drinking increases your self-confidence, and inhibitions but lowers your driving performance (reaction times, stopping distance). You may feel like you can do anything behind the wheel of a car after a six-pack. But you can't. Many, many accidents occur because of drinking. Most of these accidents involve only 1 car, but other people are killed by drunk drivers. There is a technique to protect yourself from drunk drivers. First, always wear your seat belt. Second, keep your distance from anyone that may appear to be under the influence. Anyone who is swerving, or going to slow are good examples. But it is impossible to prevent all of these accidents, people have to be educated about drinking and driving.

So how much alcohol is safe? No amount of alcohol in your body is as safe as having none. But certain amounts of alcohol are safer than others. There is no set limit of how much is too much, because there are too many factors in drinking. Body weight, amount of drinks, and how fast you drink are all factors in how alcohol affects you. Even the amount of food in your stomach can be a factor in how fast the alcohol gets into your blood stream. You cannot always tell by looking at someone if they've had too much. Some people can hold their alcohol real, others cannot. The only real way to measure the amount of alcohol in your body is with a breathalyzer. A breathalyzer measures your BAC; blood alcohol concentration. Your BAC is how much of your blood is alcohol. You must be 21 in the U.S. to drink, but the BAC limit is .10%. If you are over .10% you are considered legally drunk, and will be charged with DUI if you are caught. At slightly above .05% your risk of causing an accident is double what it would be at 0%. Considering that most people are not excellent drivers to begin with, this is scary.

How do is sober up? Eating, taking aspirin, drinking black coffee, deep breathing and cold showers are not effective at all in sobering up. The only way to sober up is time. This is important to remember, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. If you do drink, you can be smart about the actions you make. If you have any second thoughts about driving, don't. Have a friend drive you home, call a friend, or call a cab. Don't worry about your car, it is not as important as human life, and will probably be in better condition if you don't drive it drunk. Also, don't let friends drive drunk either, if they are stubborn, take the keys from them. It is a good idea to make agreements with your friends about not letting each other get in a car intoxicated. If you have a party, and someone who gets intoxicated at your party is involved in an accident, it may involve a lawsuit. Everything about drinking and driving is bad.

If you are driving drunk, there is a very good chance of you getting pulled over. Indications of drunk driving are speeding, a drinking driver sometimes thinks he/she can drive safely at high speeds (superman). Weaving, even if a drunk driver stays in the right lane, sometimes they have trouble steering straight. Slow driving, when a driver knows that they are intoxicated, they may drive slower than the flow of traffic so that they do not get in an accident, this can be dangerous in itself. Sometimes drunk drivers have jerking motions because of short mental lapses and may not keep a steady speed. Another indication of an intoxicated driver is quick stopping, which causes many accidents. Police officers have seen drunk drivers many times, and know how they drive. Don't be a fool a try to beat the system, because it is you that is going to get screwed. It is sad but true that there are people who drive drunk all the time and get away with it, and never get caught. But the odds are not with you. If you do get pulled over and the police officer thinks that you are intoxicated, they will ask you to perform a field sobriety test. The sobriety test consists of you walking the line straight, following the police officers finger with your eyes, and touching your nose with both index fingers while having your eyes closed. Depending on how you do with this test the police officer will usually conclude whether or not to perform a breathalyzer test. The cop may skip the sobriety test, and go straight to the breathalyzer if he/she feels like it. It depends on the judgment of the police officer what happens to you. But in New Jersey and some other states in the U.S. there is the implied consent law, which says that if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test you will be considered under the influence, you will lose your license for six months if it is your first offense, and for two years for repeaters, and a charge from $250-500. There is also a mandatory insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years, plus court imposed fines and penalties. It can be quite costly being a drunk driver. Failure to pay insurance surcharge will result in indefinite loss of driving privileges.

Driving while intoxicated does not add up. It is very dangerous, expensive, and stupid. It easy to avoid it if you are educated. If half the people who have there license knew the penalties for getting caught, many people would not do it. Education is key.

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