Drinking and driving is a dangerous mix. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair a person’s judgment and slow their reaction times, putting themselves and other motorists at risk. Here, James Alexander Law highlights some of the circumstances that can increase the likelihood of being involved in a drunk-driving accident.
Factors that Affect Level of Impairment
Blood alcohol content (BAC), also known as blood alcohol level, is the amount of alcohol circulating in a person’s bloodstream, measured as a percentage point. BAC can be measured by testing a person’s breath, blood, saliva, or urine. When a driver is pulled over, law enforcement will typically use a device called a breathalyzer to gauge their BAC.
Besides the amount of alcohol a person consumes, several factors can affect their BAC. These include:
- Food: Eating slows down the body’s absorption of alcohol. If you haven’t eaten much before or while drinking, your BAC may be higher than you expect.
- Type of drink: Some beverages have higher alcohol content than others. Beer is typically 4 to 8% alcohol by volume (ABV), while liquor like gin or rum is 36 to 50% ABV.
- Body composition: Adipose tissue (fat) doesn’t absorb alcohol, so people who have a higher body mass index (BMI) will become intoxicated more quickly.
- Sex: Alcohol dehydrogenase is an enzyme that metabolizes ethanol. Women’s bodies typically have lower levels of this enzyme than men’s bodies do.
- Rate of consumption: Controlling for other factors, a person who drinks four alcoholic beverages in an hour will have a higher BAC than someone who has four drinks over four hours.
In New York State, a person can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if they have a BAC of .08 or higher. For drivers of commercial motor vehicles, however, the limit is even lower at .04 BAC. Many other states have a legal limit of .08 BAC, as well.
Factors That Increase the Risk of a Car Accident
Even if you’re a careful driver, you can’t control what everyone else does on the road. Other drivers who are impaired may crash into you, making you the victim of a drunk-driving accident. Lawyers know that several factors can increase the risk of being involved in a car accident, such as:
Time of Day
Fatal car crashes tend to happen most often between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. This is because traffic tends to be heaviest during this rush hour period when more people are on the roads as they commute home from work. It also means that drivers who stop for a happy hour drink on the way home may be driving under the influence of alcohol.
Car accidents can happen anywhere, but intersections can be particularly dangerous places. Drivers who don’t brake soon enough can cause rear-end collisions, and distracted drivers may run red lights or make turns when they don’t have the right of way. Drunk drivers have impaired judgment, so they might also think they have enough time to make a turn even if they see an oncoming vehicle.
Teens and young adults who drive with other teenage passengers in the car are more likely to be in a crash. The more passengers that are in the car, the more likely the teen driver is to crash.
Contact a Local Drunk-Driving Accident Attorney
If you’re been in a drunk-driving accident, you need a knowledgeable and trustworthy law firm. The attorneys at James Alexander Law are Car Crash Central: we have extensive experience in auto accident cases. As your local dedicated attorneys with more than 38 years of history serving the community, James Alexander Law has offices in Rochester and East Syracuse, NY. We serve clients throughout Central New York, Rochester, the Southern Tier, and the North Country areas. Our team has worked with over 10,000 clients, and our goal is to make sure you receive the best representation possible. Contact us to schedule your free consultation with a drunk-driving accident lawyer or visit our blog to learn more.
The content of this blog was prepared by James Alexander Law for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information in this blog may not apply to you. You should seek the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in your state before taking any action. Using this blog site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and James Alexander Law. Client relationships can only be created by written contract.