Understanding the 0.08 Blood/Alcohol Concentration When Driving

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Understanding the 0.08 blood/alcohol concentration is important if you and your loved one want to avoid getting into trouble with the law--and more importantly, being safe on the road while preventing a potential accident waiting to happen. Alcohol impairs the ability to drive a car safely, causing swerving, poor judgment skills, and bad motor skills. Unfortunately, many people believe they can drive while drinking, and that nothing bad will happen if they are focused. This is wrong, especially since alcohol can make someone feel overly confident and focus. The following list shows what the typical effects are in a user after reaching a certain blood/alcohol concentration. It also shows the predictable effects on driving based on the increasing blood/alcohol concentration.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (g/dL)1: .02

Typical Effects

  • Some loss of judgment
  • Relaxation
  • Slight body warmth
  • Altered mood

Predictable Effects on Driving

  • Decline in visual functions (rapid tracking of a moving target)
  • Decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)

Blood Alcohol Concentration (g/dL)1: .05

Typical Effects

  • Exaggerated behavior
  • May have loss of small-muscle control (e.g., focusing your eyes)
  • Impaired judgment
  • Usually good feeling
  • Lowered alertness
  • Release of inhibition

Predictable Effects on Driving

  • Reduced coordination
  • Reduced ability to track moving objects
  • Difficulty steering
  • Reduced response to emergency driving situations

Blood Alcohol Concentration (g/dL)1: .08

Typical Effects

  • Muscle coordination becomes poor (e.g., balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing)
  • Harder to detect danger
  • Judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired

Predictable Effects on Driving

  • Concentration
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Speed control
  • Reduced information processing capability (e.g., signal detection, visual search)
  • Impaired perception

Blood Alcohol Concentration (g/dL)1: .10

Typical Effects

  • Clear deterioration of reaction time and control
  • Slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking

Predictable Effects on Driving

  • Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately

Blood Alcohol Concentration (g/dL)1: .15

Typical Effects

  • Far less muscle control than normal
  • Vomiting may occur (unless this level is reached slowly or a person has developed a tolerance for alcohol)
  • Major loss of balance

Predictable Effects on Driving

  • Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and visual and auditory information processing

Source Article: http://www.madd.org

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