Donâ€™t Let One Become One Too Many
In 2012, 10,322 people across our nation died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. That’s one every 51 minutes or nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While driving under the influence of alcohol is most common, don’t forget that drugs, either legal and illegal, can impair your judgement and your driving. Whether youâ€™ve had one too many, or way too many, never drive impaired.
How Many Drinks Does it Take?
It is difficult to calculate how many drinks it takes until a driver is over the limit because everyone is different. The law, however,Â is the same: AnyÂ BAC (blood alcohol content) 0.08 percent or higher is considered legally â€śdrunk.â€ť That being said,Â even a single drink can affect your driving, motor skills, and reaction time. Here are some facts to think about.
AtÂ BAC 0.02 percent, effects on your driving abilities include:
- Decline in visual functions such as rapid tracking of a moving target.
- Decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time.
At BAC 0.04 percent, commercial drivers are considered legally drunk.
At BAC 0.05 percent, effects on your driving abilities include:
- Reduced coordination.
- Reduced ability to track moving objects.
- Difficulty steering.
- Reduced response to emergency driving situations.
At BAC 0.08 percent, drivers are considered legally drunk,
Itâ€™s a Law Not a Suggestion
|Â||FirstÂ offense||Second offense||Third offense|
|Jail||48 hours to one year||SevenÂ days toÂ two years||30 days toÂ five years|
|FinesÂ and penalties||$625 to $1,200||$1,875 to $6,250||$3,125 to $9,375|
|License suspension||180 days||TwoÂ years||SixÂ years|
|Charge||Operating while intoxicated (OWI)||Aggravated misdemeanor||Class â€śDâ€ť felony|
- Teens are subject to an OWI if they are driving and have consumed even the slightest amount of alcohol or drugs.
- If a driver refuses to take a blood, breath, or urine test, they will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension ranging from one to two years.
- Depending on the specifics of a case, an OWI may also be punishable by:
- Seizing, impounding, or immobilizing the vehicle.
- Requiring the driver to undergo substance abuse treatment at a personal expense.
- Requiring the driver to install an ignition interlock device (a Breathalyzer system that prevents a vehicle from being started if a driver has a BAC overÂ theÂ limit).
- OWIs have a look-back period. This means that prior OWIs are relevant for sentencing. Even if the offense was committed out of state, a driver who has been convicted of OWI within the last 12 years will be levied a more severeÂ punishment.
- Some substances can remain in the bloodstream for up to several months resulting in an OWI even after the initial consumption.