There is no doubt that alcohol reduces overall brain function. However, there is a range in the severity of alcohol related effects which varies from person to person. But alcohol affects critical thinking, reasoning skills, and muscle coordination, which are all necessary for safely operating a vehicle.
Alcohol affects the central nervous system, particularly as alcohol levels increase to higher levels within the body. The body absorbs alcohol directly through the stomach walls and the small intestine. It then enters the bloodstream and is immediately metabolized by the liver.
A person’s alcohol level can be measured by the weight of alcohol present in a specific volume of blood. This is known as Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. It’s worth mentioning that the average person metabolizes alcohol at a rate of one drink per hour, yet this will vary depending on the individual.
Below is a table which illustrates the effects of alcohol by BAC:
||Minor loss of judgment, relaxation, and slightly altered mood.
||Reduced visual acuity and decline in ability to multitask.
||Loss of small muscle control, impaired judgment, lowered alertness, decrease in inhibition.
||Coordination suffers along with a reduced ability to track moving objects, steer a wheel, and respond to emergency situations.
||Poor balance and impairment of speech, vision, reaction times, and hearing. Poor judgment and loss of self-control are evident.
||Concentration is affected. Short term memory loss, reduced capability to process information, and impaired perception.
||Significant deterioration of reaction times, slurred speech, poor coordination, and much slower thinking.
||Inability to maintain lane position and stop a vehicle as needed.
||Loss of muscle control, vomiting, and major loss of balance.
||Substantial reduction of vehicle control and attention to driving related tasks; visual and auditory information processing suffers.
There is clear and ample evidence that the risk of being involved in a car crash greatly increases at a BAC of .08 grams and higher. Remember, it’s illegal in all 50 States to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.