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drinking and driving

Drinking and Driving in the United States

Various substances continue to pose different issues within the country, including overdose deaths and violent incidents.  Alcohol tends to be a common factor involved in a variety of fights, deaths, arguments, etc.  But one of the largest continuous issues with alcohol in our nation is the incidence of drinking and driving.  Unfortunately, drinking and driving have continued to be an extremely large problem, especially with the death rates that it continues to result in.

It can be far too easy for individuals to end up drinking and driving.  There are many who go out expecting to only have a couple, and then get carried away and still drive home.  Then, there are others who refuse to acknowledge how drunk they actually are and get behind the wheel.  And unfortunately, there are also those who very well know how drunk they are, and yet they feel confident in their ability to drive drunk.

The various drinking and driving facts and statistics are actually quite startling.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28 people in the U.S. die every day from crashes involving alcohol impairment, which amounts to a death every 53 minutes.  Further, CDC drinking and driving facts and statistics from 2014 include:

  • 9,967 people were killed from crashes involving alcohol impairment
  • 209 children age 14 or younger were killed in alcohol related crashes
  • Over 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics

The Effects of Alcohol Upon Driving Ability

Alcohol produces a series of effects upon a person’s body and mind, and these can happen relatively quickly.  When alcohol is consumed, it goes into the stomach and small intestine where it is then absorbed through blood vessels.  From there, it makes its journey to the brain, where it begins to slow nerve cells. Another primary location that alcohol arrives at is the liver, which works to turn alcohol into a non-toxic substance, a process which is called metabolizing.  But, the liver can only do so much at one time, and the alcohol that it is not metabolized is left in circulation, which then produces effects upon the body.  The amount of alcohol currently in a person’s bloodstream is known as Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), which is what they test when suspecting someone of drunk driving.

Alcohol impacts the brain in several ways.  It impairs thinking, reasoning, reaction time, and muscle coordination, all of which are crucial to the operation of a vehicle.  As a person continues to consume more alcohol, these abilities are further impaired, which makes it even more difficult for a person to drive properly.  With slowed reaction time and impaired thinking, a person may take a curve too fast, hit obstacles that could have been avoided, or not notice other vehicles in their proximity.  They may also make dangerous decisions, such as cutting someone off or turning too soon or too late.

Planning to Avoid Drinking and Driving

Fortunately, most individuals typically know how to arrange their night to avoid drinking and driving, but others may not take the appropriate precautions.  If planning a night of drinking, a person should:

  • Designate a driver, or arrange a ride home beforehand. This way, the concern is never there in the first place.
  • If you drove to your current location and have become intoxicated, do not even risk driving. Call a cab, Uber, friend, parent, etc. to come pick you up rather than even putting the risk there.
  • If at a friend’s house or someone you know, stay there if you can. Wait it out until you are completely sober while drinking lots of water and eating.  Or simply spend the night, sleep it off, and head home in the morning.
  • If someone in your presence is intoxicated, do not let them get behind the wheel, regardless of any upset, complaints, reassurances of sobriety, etc.
  • Report any impaired driver that you see on the roads. This can be done by calling local law enforcement, and could potentially save a life.

Finding a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center

Of course, there are those out there that are struggling with an addiction to alcohol.  These individuals often need treatment to be able to overcome their addiction.  There are many different types of treatment facilities and modalities across the nation, which can make it confusing as far as which one to choose.  Our organization is here to help find the best fit in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for those struggling with addiction.  Give us a call today, and we can help you or your loved one take the first step toward sobriety.

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