drinking and driving

Believe it or not, alcohol is said to have caused over half the deaths due to road accidents in the mid 1970s. Today the situation has improved, but alcohol related road accident deaths still account for nearly 30% of all traffic fatalities. This number goes upto 37% with people under 20 years of age.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rate of alcohol induced driving fatalities in the US was 3.2 per 100,000 population in 2015. Alarming!

drinking and driving

Risks of a driver driving under alcohol influence is 11 times greater than a sober driver. While it could be mere numbers for many people, but for family and friends of those who died as a result of drunken driving, it is an enormous loss.

Alcohol distorts a person’s perceptions and judgment. The reaction of an alcoholic driver is much slower compared to reaction during sober state. When an alcoholic driver takes a risk and drive, most of the time it ends up in serious accidents or even fatalities either to himself or other drivers.

The legal limit for driving is a blood alcohol level of 0.08. Getting to a BAC of 0.08 isn’t difficult. For a person who weighs 140 lb, it would take 3 drinks in one hour and if someone is binge drinking, they could get into a situation where alcohol remains in their body for 10 hours or more. Some believe that drinking black coffee helps one sober up, but that’s not true as it is only time that can sober one up.

Every drink has a different amount of pure alcohol in it. One beer is 12 fluid ounces with 5% alcohol. Wine has 12 % of alcohol; so just 5 fluid ounces of wine is considered one drink and one shot of rum, vodka or gin has 40% alcohol, so just one shot is considered one drink. In bars, drinks are standardized to keep a track of how much alcohol one has had. A standard drink is 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.

Two beers is all it takes to get you to a .02% BAC which affects judgment skills and three beers to make it difficult even steering a car. Alcohol test can test BAC as it is processed by the body. Even when one has stopped drinking hours ago, alcohol test can detect your BAC declining steadily with a breathalyzer.

Monitoring alcohol intake is tricky and people come up with different tricks to sober up quickly before leaving the bar. The reality lies in the fact that alcohol lingers on much longer than many people expect and even a little bit of it in the bloodstream is enough to trigger a positive result in an alcohol test.

Prominent Fatalities of Alcohol

Alcohol does not differentiate between a rich and poor person and famous personality and an ordinary layman. A person who drinks too much alcohol is a danger to himself and others.

Alcohol has claimed many artists, musicians, writers. John Bonham, known for his drum solo on Moby Dick, was found dead of asphyxiation from vomit after a night of heavy drinking on his way to rehearsals for an upcoming tour. Steve Clark, a guitarist, was yet another heavy drinker who died in London home of a lethal combination of alcohol and drugs.

Michael Clarke, an American musician drummer for The Byrds, died of liver failure after three decades of heavy alcohol consumption. Brian Connolly, a rock vocalist and a lead singer for Sweet, had drinking problem which damaged his health and he died of liver failure. Oliver Reed, a British actor, died of sudden heart attack after drinking 3 bottles of rum, 8 bottles of beer and numerous doubles of whiskey.

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Dr. Ezerioha completed his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in 2016 from the Medical University of South Carolina. He is the founder and CEO of Ranvia Group, which is a consulting group for healthcare companies that produce healthcare related consumer technology.