Drunk Driving


As apart of April’s Alcohol Awareness Month, this article will focus on drunk driving.  Any person who drives under the influence of alcohol is a drunk driver and is committing a serious crime.   Drinking and driving is the probably the worst cocktail ever mixed!

Drunk Driving is a Crime

Every state in the United States have adopted the 0.08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.  A motor vehicle can be consider any vehicle that operates with a motor; e.g. boats, jet-ski, snowmobile, tractor, lawn mower, or anything that is self-propelled wheeled that does not operate on rail.

A drunk driver can be charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated).  A DUI is considered to be a lesser crime, but is still very serious.  Every state may have different punishments for a driver being caught driving with a BAC over the legal limit.  In Missouri, the first DUI offense can have up to 6 months of jail time, up to $500 in fines and penalties, license suspended for 30 days.  The third DUI offense can have up to 4 years, up to $5,000, and 10 years.

Anyone under the age of 21 are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle with any BAC.  Anyone charged with a DUI or DWI insurance premium will increase or possibly deny their coverage in the future

Missouri has adopted the implied consent law, meaning if a driver refuses to submit to a chemicals test they will be subjected to a fine and automatic license suspension.

drunk driving

How Alcohol Affects the Driver

There are many different factors to consider when drinking.  Gender, age, weight, tolerance, and even type of alcohol will all have varying results on a driver.

  • 0.02 BAC: driver will experience some loss of judgement, relaxation, and altered mood that results in visual impairments and ability to perform multiple tasks at the same time.
  • 0.05 BAC: Driver will have delayed eye movement, distorted visual perception, slower reaction time and information processing that results in reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, and difficulty in steering.
  • 0.08 BAC: The driver may experience poor muscle coordination (balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing), judgement to detect danger is decreased.  The ability to self-control, reason, and memory are impaired that results in reduced concentration, loss of speed control, and information processing.  The driver’s perception is completely impaired and vision is distorted.

This chart can help determine BAC only by weight.

This calculator can give an estimate on BAC factoring gender, number and type of alcohol, time span of consumption, and weight.

drunk driving

Statistics about Drunk Driving

These statistics are from NCADD:

  • Estimated 32% of fatal car crashes involve an intoxicated driver or pedestrian.
  • Every year, about 13,000 people are killed in alcohol-related accidents.
  • Every year, there are over 1.4 million DWI arrested and 780,000 are convicted.  Two-third are repeated offenders.
  • Majority of drunk driving deaths are resulted in the drunk driver with a BAC of 0.10

These statistics are from MADD:

  • The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21 to 25 year olds (23.4 percent).
  • Only time will sober a person up. Drinking strong coffee, exercising or taking a cold shower will not help.
  • On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
  • In 2013, a total of 1,149 children 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those 1,149 fatalities, 200 (17%) occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. Out of those 200 deaths, 121 (61%) were occupants of vehicles with drivers who had BACs of .08 or higher, and another 29 children (15%) were pedestrians or pedalcyclists struck by drivers with BACs of .08 or higher.

drunk driving

Please do not drink and drive.  Drunk driving can have so many negative impacts, including deaths.  Bridgeway Behavioral Health can help someone who may be alcoholic, please visit us online www.bridgewaybh.com.


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