When you are drunk your reaction is slow, concentration is worse, mobility is weakened, and your ability to drive and react to traffic conditions are reduced dramatically. That is why impaired driving causes so many accidents on the road, that results in injuries, property damage, and even fatalities.
How does alcohol affect people
Immediately after consuming alcohol, 20% of the alcohol gets absorbed through the stomach, gets into the bloodstream and starts to affect a person. The remaining alcohol gets absorbed through a small intestine and other parts of the digestive tract. Through blood circulation, alcohol gets distributed everywhere in the body including legs, arms, heart, and brain. As soon as alcohol gets to the brain, a person starts to feel the effect of alcohol and displays the first signs of alcohol intoxication. Among other things, alcohol stimulates an increase of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that is associated with positive emotions, feelings of satisfaction, happiness and joy. It also makes people talkative and confident. However, as the person continues to increase alcohol content in his body, happiness and joy will change to depression and impairment.
The reason for the quick change from happiness to depression has to do with the way alcohol moves through the brain. It moves via nerves, affecting different parts of the brain and causing different effects on your body. The more alcoholic beverages you drink, the more they affect your nervous system, making you depressed. This results in the delayed effect on some parts of the body. When alcohol affects the part of the brain which is in charge of behavior, the person may lose control or it will become difficult for that person to understand what behavior is appropriate in this or that situation. Alcohol can also affect emotions by multiplying the emotional effect, both positive or negative. Alcohol also affects coordination part of the brain, so that a person can lose the ability to control muscles movement, such as touching the tip of the nose or to walk steadily. That’s why police officers ask suspected DUI drivers to perform “walk the line” test and “touch the nose” test during the field sobriety investigation. Obviously, the more alcohol you drink, the more parts of the brain are affected and to a greater degree.
Sometimes consuming alcohol leads to death. That happens because alcohol can affect parts of the brain responsible for breathing, heart beating or the gag reflex. When alcohol impairs the brain function responsible for breathing the brain simply forgets to breathe and the person dies. Or if it blocks gag reflex, the person chokes on his own vomit and drowns in it.
When and where was a person first arrested for drunk driving?
The first person arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol was a 25-year-old George Smith. The accident happened 118 years ago on September 10, 1897 when a boozy taxi driver plowed his cab into a building in London. He pled guilty and paid the fine of 25 shillings. More than 10 years after that incident the US government passed its first laws against drunk driving.
The first Breathalyzer was invented in 1936 and looked like a balloon for breathing into it. It got the name “Drunkometer” and was used for almost 20 years. In 1953 an updated device was introduced, which looked like today’s Breathalyzer. It was easier to use and gave more accurate results of alcohol concentration in blood.
What country has the strictest drunk driving laws?
In the United States, the federal government provides funds only to states that adhere to the alcohol level of .08% or higher. Because of that, all states including California make driving illegal when blood alcohol level is .08 percent or more.
In many East European countries, like Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, having BAC above .00 will result in an arrest or other penalties. The penalties vary from imprisonment to fines, vehicle and/or license confiscation. Many Muslim countries adhere to the ban of all alcohol consumption and prosecute even simple possession of alcohol.
Which state in the US has the strictest DUI laws?
Arizona has one of the toughest DUI laws and penalties. It’s obligatory to undergo field sobriety tests if the driver is suspected of drunk driving. If the driver refuses to do this, his license will be automatically suspended for one year even on the first offense.
If charged with a DUI for the first offense the driver can face:
- up to 10 days in jail;
- a minimal fine of around $1,250 and up to several thousand;
- license suspension for up to 1 year;
- ignition interlock device for 1 year;
Also, a driver with a DUI conviction may be required to attend the education program, and do community labor.
Some myths and facts about alcohol
Myth: Drinking lower alcohol content drinks first and then switching to hard liquor drinks will allow you not to get drunk.
Fact: It is only important how much you drink and how fast, not the types of drinks consumed or the order of consumption.
Myth: Darker beverages are better for health then lighter beverages.
Fact: Darker beers or red wine may result in worse hangovers because of the amount of additives they have.
Myth: Light color beers are lower in alcohol content than dark color beers.
Fact: The color isn’t always the measurement of alcohol concentration. Ask bartender or read labels carefully to know the exact percentage of alcohol in any drink.
Myth: Taking a shower or drinking coffee will help you get sober.
Fact: A human liver can generally process one standard drink every hour. So taking shower or coffee won’t help your liver to get rid of alcohol faster. Only time will.
Myth: Eating before drinking can help to stay sober.
Fact: Yes the food in the stomach will slow down the absorption process but all consumed alcohol will eventually make it to the bloodstream.
Myth: Alcohol gives energy.
Fact: Quite the opposite. Even though it looks like a person is more active at first, but in fact, alcohol slows reactions time and clouds judgment. In a while, a person will feel weary, and sleepy.
Myth: Drinking through the straw makes you drunk more quickly.
Fact: The way in which alcohol is consumed has no effect on the level of impairment. A person gets drunk because alcohol is absorbed in bloodstream. Using straw does not change the fact that alcohol get to the stomach where it is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Myth: Taking a cold shower or drinking a couple of cups of strong coffee sober a person up faster
Fact: It does not work. The body rids itself of alcohol on a fixed schedule. The liver metabolizes 1 ounce of 100-proof whiskey (or one 12-ounce can of beer, or one 5-ounce glass of wine) per hour. So, while a cold shower may make sobering up a cleaner experience, it has no effect on the rate of lowering the blood alcohol level.
Some facts about alcohol and driving
- Every 30 minutes one person dies because of drunk driving.
- Every other minute a person is injured in a DUI accident.
- 27 people die every day in the USA because of DUI fatalities.
- The worst drunk driving accident happened in 1988 in Kentucky when a driver crashed into a school bus killing 27 persons, mostly children and injuring 34 others.
- Drinking beer is the most common reason for drunk driving collisions and fatalities.
If you have any questions about your DUI case, call (818) 921 7744 for a free case review.
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