Rhode Island DUI Attorney
Alcohol on the Road – Impairment under the Legal Limit
Most drivers, when asked, will know that the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .08. Many people also know that men and women are affected by alcohol differently – women, being generally smaller and lighter, tend to reach the .08 limit much faster than do men. But there is more to the drunk driving story than the legal BAC limit. The truth is, .08 is simply a figure set by law, and does not, scientifically, represent the point when a person begins to feel the effects of alcohol. In other words, even if your BAC is below the legal limit, the alcohol in your system may still be affecting your driving and posing a risk to your safety and that of people around you.
At this low BAC, the effects of alcohol are generally mild and less pronounced, including a feeling of relaxation, euphoria, and some loss of judgment. People also begin to have difficulty multi-tasking and following moving objects with their eyes. While the impairment is not serious at this point, a driver with this BAC level may have trouble responding to a sudden emergency.
When BAC reaches the .05 level, people lose control of their small muscles, impairing their ability to move and focus their eyes. They also start to lose their inhibitions and experience a decrease in overall alertness, coordination, and judgment capability. Drivers with this BAC start to have difficulties judging traffic patterns, steering, and responding to unexpected situations.
When drivers reach or approach the legal limit of .08 BAC, all their senses suffer. Both vision and hearing are seriously impaired, and their sense of balance is lost. Add to that a slowed reaction speed, lack of self-control, loss of the ability to reason and perceive danger, and it is easy to see why drivers at this level are 11 times more likely to be in an accident than those without alcohol in their system.
Another fact to consider is that even the scale provided above is not absolute. It is only an estimate of what people will experience at different levels of intoxication. In practice, people experience symptoms of intoxication at different rates – what one person feels at the .05 level may be the same as another person feels at only a .02 level. The message is clear, however – driving with any alcohol in your system can be a safety hazard. Not only that, but it may also get you in legal trouble. Several states have laws allowing police to arrest you for drunk driving even if you are below the legal limit if you are driving while impaired. This means that, even if you only have a BAC of .04, you can still face charges if you exhibit slow reaction time, balance, or other signs of alcohol impairment.
Have you been accused of DUI? If so, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Call Rhode Island DUI lawyer Matthew Marin at 401-287-4384 today.