The legal blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers may not seem like much. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains that the weight of the alcohol in a driver’s blood cannot exceed 0.08 grams per deciliter of blood. Yet this is more than enough to create control issues that put everyone around the driver at risk.
Here is why.
Loss of cognitive ability
A person who has a BAC of only 0.02% has already experienced a loss of judgment and altered mood. Usually, after just one drink, it is more difficult to do two things at once. Since driving involves multitasking, a single drink can lead to trouble.
At 0.05%, the driver will have a harder time staying alert to surroundings, and it will take longer to process information and respond to it. This driver may not be able to stop suddenly if an unexpected traffic situation arises.
A BAC of 0.08% affects the brain’s ability to reason and think through events, as well as to perceive things and remember them. This driver is likely to miss important information and make bad decisions or fail to respond at all.
Loss of physical control
Alcohol affects people’s vision first at 0.02% BAC by a decline in the ability to track moving objects, then as the BAC increases, by the inability to focus and blurred vision. Muscle coordination also declines with each drink, as well as fine motor skills. As the body relaxes, the driver has less and less control over it.
Driving is a responsibility that requires a person’s full attention. Someone who has been drinking cannot mentally or physically make the commitment to safety that is necessary to prevent an accident.