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Impaired Driving: What Does .08 Look Like?

impaired driving_alcohol test

Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day are some of the most dangerous times to be on the road due to impaired driving abilities caused by drugs and alcohol.

This is the time of year when organizations like MADD work diligently to raise the awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving through campaigns such as Tie One on For Safety.

Why? Because alcohol decreases your ability to drive a motor vehicle safely. The more you drink, the more you are impaired. When you decide to get behind the wheel to drive, there is a higher likelihood that you will be involved in an accident.


What is .08 BAC?

Your level of impairment is measured by what is referred to as blood alcohol concentration or BAC. This is used because alcohol concentration in the body is directly related to impairment. However, it’s important to note that the amount of alcohol required to become impaired differs according to things such as how fast you drink, your weight, your gender, and how much food you have eaten.

No matter these variables, a person is considered legally intoxicated at a .08 BAC level.

What does that look like behind the wheel?

At just a .02 BAC level, there is some loss of judgment, a decline in visual functions and a decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time.

At a .05 BAC level, it gets harder to focus your eyes, judgement is impaired and you have a lowered alertness level. What this means when you are behind the wheel:

  • reduced coordination
  • reduced ability to track moving objects
  • reduced response to emergency driving situations.

At a .08 BAC level – when you are considered legally intoxicated – muscle coordination is impacted, which includes speech, vision, reaction time and hearing; and judgment, reasoning and memory are also impaired. When behind the wheel, this means:

  • Critical driving tasks are significantly impaired (i.e., braking, steering)
  • Ability to handle several tasks at one time is significantly reduced
  • Ability to detect danger is severely reduced
  • Impaired judgement and perception, which can lead to speeding and erratic lane changing
  • Slower reaction time and a decrease in coordination

Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that the relative risk of being killed in a single vehicle crash for drivers at BAC levels between .05 and .09 is 11 times that of drivers with no alcohol in their system.


Alcohol Impaired Driving Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes costs more than an estimated $37 billion annually.

Impaired driving_car accidentOther drunk driving statistics as reported on the MADD website:

  • The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21 to 25 year olds.
  • Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.
  • On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
  • Every day in America, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.

Is it Time to Get Legal Advice?

Alcohol-related accidents can be devastating. In 2013, 10,076 people died in drunk driving crashes – one every 52 minutes – and 290,000 were injured.

The lawyers at Nash & Franciskato are experienced auto accident attorneys who have obtained settlements for clients involving alcohol-impaired crashes. Should you need legal advice for your situation, contact us for a free, no-obligation review of your case.


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