It is not uncommon for people in Kansas City, and elsewhere, to enjoy alcoholic beverages. While the occasional libation is generally not a problem, alcohol consumption can be incredibly dangerous for drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately one person died every 51 minutes in the U.S. due to drunk driving accidents in 2012, the most recent year for which statistics were available. Many more people are injured as a result of alcohol-impaired driving. Not only are those who decide to get behind the wheel after drinking and driving at risk for injury or death, so too are other motorists and passengers.
The dangers of drunk driving are, in large part, due to the effects that alcohol has on the body. The types of effects that people experience as a result of drinking alcohol can be impacted by a number of factors, such as the type of alcohol consumed, the amount of alcohol consumed, and the person’s size and metabolism. Some of the most common effects include the following:
- Impaired judgment or release of inhibitions
- Exaggerated behavior
- Lowered alertness
- Decreased muscle coordination and control
- Decreased reaction time and thought processing
In general, these effects tend to become enhanced as more alcohol is ingested. While they can be dangerous enough for people on their own, these effects can be even more significant for drivers.
People who get behind the wheel after drinking often feel that they have not had too much, or that they are not too drunk to drive safely. These thoughts are generally misguided, however. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the effects of alcohol consumption to cause motorists to experience slowed reaction times, a decline in their visual function and impaired perception. They may also have difficulty steering, as well as a reduced ability to brake appropriately and maintain proper lane position. All of these effects may increase the likelihood of drunk drivers being involved in, or causing, an auto accident.
Being negligent and ignoring the dangers of drinking and driving can have a major impact on other drivers, and their families. People who have been injured in a drunk driving accident may find it of benefit to discuss their case with an attorney to learn more about their rights and options.