“In the United States, almost 30 people die every day in crashes that involve a driver impaired by alcohol. That’s at least one death an hour.”-Kathleen Smith.
Year after year, millions of people worldwide tell themselves that driving drunk is fine. Drinking and driving or driving under the influence (DUI), is when a person who is intoxicated, driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%.
The risk of a driver being impaired of alcohol and killed in an accident is about 11 times that of people driving without alcohol in their system. Even if you make it home, you are still putting you and other people’s lives at risk and also the people who are driving on the road. We have Uber and Lyft in this era where driving drunk is inexcusable (Schimmel, 2019).
The greatest individuals at danger for drinking and driving are those who binge drink or those who are struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) (Galbicsek, 2019). AUD means that they drink a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time and they are putting themselves at risk for harmful side effects (Galbicsek, 2019). It usually takes about 30 minutes to 2 hours for the alcohol to be absorbed into your bloodstream (Galbicsek, 2019).
During the time where the alcohol is being absorbed in your bloodstream, alcohol impairs a person’s judgment and makes it unsafe to drive by delaying cognitive skills, slowing down reaction time, decreased and blurred vision and slows down a person’s breathing (Galbicsek, 2019). Because of these dangerous side effects of alcohol, a person that is under the influence of small amounts of alcohol makes it dangerous for him or her to drink and drive much less large amounts of alcohol.
It doesn’t matter how much alcohol you had, it can still affect your driving ability. Alcohol can cause people to get sleepy, their response time is slower, their vision is distorted, they can have blackouts, and they can go unconscious. The effects of alcohol abuse will put you at risk of causing an accident or an injury.
In order to drive safely, it requires the ability to concentrate and make good decisions. Drinking and driving can not only endanger the individual and other people’s lives but it can impair your body by having poor judgment & decision making, the effects on the body and the brain, the effects of blood alcohol levels on the body, 5 different subtypes of alcoholics, increased likelihood of having an accident, and the potential legal consequences of drinking and driving.
Poor Judgment & Decision Making
An individual’s brain handles how a person judges a certain circumstance (Galbicsek, 2019). Alcohol plays a big part in clouding people’s judgment to make bad decisions. When you are intoxicated, you start to lose your judgment and you prone to distracting driving.
For example, individuals who have been drinking will try their best to text or do something on their phone than try to put their attention on the road. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, they choose to driveway beyond the limit. Driving under the influence is a dangerous choice the individual start losing their judgment.
Driving under the influence is a dangerous choice the individual start losing their judgment. When you start losing alcohol and judgment start less and less than the individuals are putting other people in danger and at risk of having an accident. The individual, when driving, needs to stay in their assigned lane, give a reasonable amount of space and attention to other people driving, and most important while they are on the road is to obey the traffic signs and signals while driving on the road.
Drinking alcohol while driving will without a doubt boost the individual odds of causing an accident as a result of alcohol downsizing the person’s attention span. A person’s judgment skills play an enormous role in driving (LowCostInterlock 1). An individual’s judgment skills need to be spot on because the individual needs to decide when to stop or making a turn.
Having a clear head will help an individual’s judgment by keeping the person active and attentive to the surroundings around you, alcohol will impair the person’s judgment skills (LowCostInterlock 1).
The Effects on the Body and the Brain
When alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, within minutes, the person drinking alcohol quickly produces its effects and slowing the action of nerve cells (DrugFreeWorld 1). When someone is heavy drinking, this can cause long-term problems to the liver, the digestive system, cardiovascular health, reproductive health, and the bones. It affects the liver by making the liver swollen. Alcohol can affect an individual\’s digestive system by wearing down the stomach and by increasing stomach acid, which can cause ulcers (Moncio, 2019). Drinking alcohol can impact your cardiovascular health by causing high blood pressure, erratic heartbeat, etc. (Moncio, 2019).
When an individual drinks so much alcohol, this can lead to a number of reproductive problems. 1 reproductive problem is that is causes irregular menstruation and erectile dysfunction. Erectile Dysfunction is where during sexual intercourse, a man can not get an erection.
Women who drink while pregnant are at risk for having a miscarriage, stillbirth, or even having a child with an FASD, or a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (Moncio, 2019). Alcohol can affect someone’s bones by causing a disruption to produce vitamin D, which is needed for calcium absorption (Monico, 2019).
Effects of Blood Alcohol Content Levels on the Body
The method that is used to measure within 30-70 minutes of how much alcohol is in an individual’s bloodstream is called BAC, or blood alcohol concentration (Monico, 1). A person’s BAC will determine the exact amount of alcohol you drink and that will determine what effects the alcohol will have on the person.
People believe that time, coffee, a nice cold shower, and glasses of water can lower an individual’s BAC but that is not true. An individual’s BAC level is not only affected by how much the person has consumed but by the person’s weight, gender, the pattern of drinking, and the person genetics (Blood Content 2).
Some of the side effects, or impairments, from an individual’s blood alcohol levels that are increasing is their speech is slurred, they keep passing out, they vomiting everywhere, their blood pressure, breathing, and heartbeat changes, etc. (Monico, 2). All states excerpt for Utah, says it is illegal for someone who is younger than 21 to drive a vehicle with a BAC level of 0.08%.
The legal limit, 0.08%, is equal to drinking 4 alcoholic drinks. When someone has a BAC of 0.08%, they have a loss of concentration, short term memory loss, and it will reduce the person’s information processing capability (ex. signal detection and visual search) (Hartney, 5). 0.10% will equal still 4 drinks but they will have more effects on them like slurred speech and slowed thinking.
Having a BAC of 0.10% will have them not able to stay in their own lane or brake appropriately. Drinking with a 0.40% and over will have them put in a coma or will cause sudden death because the person\’s heart will stop and they will stop breathing.
5 Different Subtypes of Alcoholics
Almost 6% of adults battled an AUD, or alcohol use disorder (Subtypes Alcoholics, 1). About 10% of people in the U.S. struggled with alcohol but have received treatment from professionals for alcoholism.
The 5 subtypes are young adult alcoholic, young antisocial alcoholics, functional alcoholic, intermediate familial alcoholic, and chronic severe alcoholic. These subtypes are based on the age of the individual and the age they really started drinking (Smith, 1). These subtypes are not as a diagnostic but to further the study of alcoholism and prevention effects.
Young Adult Subtype
The young adult subtype his late teens, maybe in their 20s or slightly younger. About 32%, fall in this group, this is usually the largest percentage of alcoholics that fall in this category (Subtypes Alcoholics, 3).
Young adults in this category usually are college students who are away from their house and are surrounded by someone or a culture that advertises this excessive social drinking. Individuals who fall in this category will rarely have a family history of alcoholism (Subtypes Alcoholics, 4).
People in this group may not seek help for their problematic drinking because this is usually expressed as “normal” and part of life (Subtypes Alcoholics, 4). The people who want treatment, they will most likely go to a 12-step program (Smith, 3).
Young Antisocial Alcoholics
Young antisocial alcoholics, characterized by having an antisocial personality disorder. They are commonly in their mid-20s and they start drinking young (Subtypes Alcoholics, 5).
Antisocial personality disorder more often than not co-occurs with alcohol abuse, mix with alcohol can lower someone’s social shyness and anxiety and can make them feel more relaxed (Subtypes Alcoholics, 6).
Individuals who are in this category may drink in order to self-medicate the personality disorder symptoms, individuals who suffer from this usually struggle with poor impulse control, which usually makes them more exposed to engage in risky and questionable drinking and other self-destructive demeanor (Subtypes Alcoholics, 6). Many individuals who fall in this category suffer from other mental disorders like bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, or depression (Subtypes Alcoholics, 6).
Almost ⅓ of individuals who fall in the young antisocial alcoholics will seek medication for this.