One of the most preventable motor vehicle accidents is an alcohol-related crash. All a driver has to do to reduce the risk of being involved in one of these accidents is to not drink before driving. However, people here in Pennsylvania and elsewhere continue to do so, which puts you and your loved ones at risk.
Like many others, you may believe that in order for authorities to allege that a crash resulted from impairment, the driver deemed responsible must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above since that is the legal limit. However, that may not always be the case. Police take the totality of the situation into account when making a determination of fault.
How the body processes alcohol
Research shows that the liver can only metabolize, or process, one standard alcoholic drink each hour. It doesn’t matter how much you consume — that remains constant. The factors below affect how quickly you may feel the effects of alcohol as you consume it:
- Food intake
- Body fat percentage
- Body water percentage
For most people, the effects peak between 30 and 45 minutes after consumption. Obviously, the more alcohol consumed within a certain time frame, the more prevalent the effects will be on you. No matter how much you drink, your BAC will only drop approximately 0.015% per hour, which is why it takes so much longer to “sober up” than it does to become impaired.
How your body reacts at 0.02% to 0.03% BAC
Your body will easily and quickly reach this BAC level with just one or two drinks. By this time, you may feel relaxed, more outgoing, and a little lightheaded or euphoric. You may still feel as though you have control of your faculties, but your decision-making may suffer.
How your body reacts at 0.04% to 0.06% BAC
By the time your BAC reaches this level, you will most likely experience the following changes:
- Lower inhibitions
- Feeling of well-being
- Slightly impaired memory
- Diminished reasoning
- Diminished judgment
- More intense emotional responses
- More exaggerated behavior
- Reduced feeling of caution
As you can see, by this time, you become a danger to yourself and others if you drive, yet the law does not yet consider you legally intoxicated. However, you are certainly impaired, and the situation only gets worse as your BAC rises.
How this affects an alcohol-related crash
If you have the misfortune of encountering a driver with any alcohol in his or her system, the chances are good that it will play a factor in the accident. This fact could provide evidence of negligence or recklessness as you pursue the compensation you deserve for the damages you incurred as a result, such as your medical expenses, the time you took off from work during your recovery and more.
This blog entry was posted on behalf of Hof & Reid, LLC, and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.