With rising rates of addiction in Colorado, it’s important to discuss the issue and some of the tragic consequences of it. Alcoholism impacts many individuals and families across the United States. We might think about these as only on a personal level, but often times, other people get caught in the crossfire.
If you’re not sure about getting help, I hope I can convince you with some of the sobering facts and statistics I will go over in this article. When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, there are no winners. Even if you make it home safe, it only increases your risk of doing it again – and next time, you might not be so lucky.
What is Considered Drunk Driving?
We may think this is self-explanatory, but I would like to offer a few more fast facts about driving under the influence. You are considered to be driving under the influence when you have had alcohol and then choose to operate a motor vehicle. This does not only include cars. Trucks, motorcycles, or even things like lawn mowers, jet skis, or golf carts.
Some of these might seem harmless, but don’t be fooled. Serious accidents can occur in a golf cart or a lawn mower as well. That being said, they will not be what I highlight here. I merely wanted to reinforce that none of this is a joke.
You are considered to be under the influence of alcohol if you have a blood alcohol content of 0.8 or higher. It is illegal to operate a vehicle in all fifty of the states in the United States in these conditions.
Who is Most at Risk for Drunk Driving?
There are many consequences to driving while impaired. For some of the grim statistics, you can look here at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page on this issue: https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html. As they mention, this is a very widespread problem in the United States.
There are a few groups of people who are higher at risk for getting into accidents when they are driving under the influence of alcohol. One such group is those who are under the age of eighteen. This is primarily because the substance pervades their system much faster and more intensely than adults in their twenties, thirties, and forties.
Their decision making processes tend to be much more impaired by alcohol than other age groups. Because their personalities and brains have not fully formed, they might take more risks than those older. For these reasons, it is especially dangerous for younger teenagers to drive under the influence.
The other at risk group I would like to touch upon is motorcycle drivers. In 2016, twenty five percent of motorcyclists who died in vehicular accidents had a blood alcohol content of 0.8 or higher. It’s definitely not a good idea to try to operate a motorcycle while you are drunk.
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Impacts of Drunk Driving
Unfortunately, there are many negative situations that can arise from operating a vehicle while impaired.
Tragically, almost twenty eight deaths a day occur due to accidents involving a drunk driver. This is usually caused by the way alcohol effects our bodies. The substance ends up impacting our central nervous system, which can of course have some undesirable effects. It is usually absorbed by the lining of our stomachs and livers as well, meaning your whole body ends up under the influence.
Blood alcohol content is usually measured with a breathalyzer test. This is done due to the laws that have been changing in the past several decades. After all, the amount of accidents that occur each day because of this amounts to over one person an hour getting grievously injured. The government has made changes to the laws surrounding driving under the influence in response to these tragedies.
Some consequences for getting caught include losing your license, going to jail, or getting a significant fine. None of us want this to happen. That’s why it’s best to prevent drunk driving before it happens, rather than risk getting caught or worse, getting into an accident.
Education is one of the best tools for prevention. If we understand what causes our inclination to drink, we might be less likely to perform dangerous activities while doing so. Treatment for substance misuse disorders like alcoholism can take many forms, and is helpful in reducing dangerous accidents on the road. There are many possibilities such as Sunshine Behavioral Health Centennial for prevention and treatment.
While we might be reluctant to get help for something like addiction, in the long run it is definitely for the best. Driving while drunk is dangerous and illegal. If you feel strong urges to drink alcohol that you cannot control, you are at higher risk for potentially entering your vehicle.
If you are going to a social function where drinking is an option, there are a few measures you can take. You could establish a car pooling group, with one person as the designated driver for everyone else. It’s probably a good idea to rotate who that person is, unless they will never want to drink. After all, it’s not fair to saddle the burden on one member of a friend group.
Additionally, if you are feeling tipsy or worse in terms of intoxication, you can always use some form of public transportation. Busses and trolleys are in most areas. Of course, don’t forget ride sharing apps as well. In situations where there was a potential for impaired driving, these services can save lives.
All in all, educating yourself and those around you on this topic will hopefully help to reduce the number of fatal accidents that happen each year. While it might feel like we can’t make a huge difference on our own, that’s not true! Checking yourself into rehab if you have a drinking problem, or encouraging a friend to do that, can make a surprisingly big difference.