Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that’s one person every 48 minutes in 2017. Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, these deaths and damages contributed to a cost of $44B per year 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 judgment and your driving. Whether you’ve had one too many, or way too many, never drive impaired.
It is difficult to calculate how many drinks it takes until a driver is over the limit because everyone is different.
Any BAC (blood alcohol content) 0.08 percent or higher is considered legally “drunk.” That being said, even a single drink can affect your driving, motor skills, and reaction time.
At BAC 0.02 percent, effects on your driving abilities include:
At BAC 0.04 percent, commercial drivers are considered legally drunk.
At BAC 0.05 percent, effects on your driving abilities include:
At BAC 0.08 percent, drivers are considered legally drunk
If you have blurred vision, irregular fatigue, difficulty focusing, delayed reaction time, or even the slightest concern that your ability to drive may be compromised, call for a ride.
Driving impaired includes more than just alcohol. Don’t drive if you have taken prescriptions drugs warning of drowsiness or other side effects known to cause impaired senses.
If you begin driving and realize you are impaired, stop driving. Pull over to a safe place, get out of the driver’s seat, and put the car keys away. Call for a sober ride.
If you’re in a group, be a friend and don’t let anyone else drive impaired.
If you happen upon anyone with some or all of the warning signs of drunk driving, pull off to a safe place and call 911.
Buckle up. Every seat, every time.