Alcohol

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Alcohol-impaired Driving Page 1 of 13

Introduction According to the NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis, traffic fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes decreased nearly 4 percent from 13,491 in 2006 to 12,998 in 2007. Although we have been making progress, alcohol is still the third leading factor for drivers involved in fatal crashes. Even if you do not drink, it is still important for you to understand how alcohol affects driving behavior. Anyone who drives or rides in a vehicle is exposed to drunk drivers. Over the past 25 years, a great number of resources have been focused on solving the drinking and driving problem. Today more police patrols and roadblocks are used to find and arrest impaired drivers. In many areas in the U.S., impaired drivers may lose their license, pay huge fines, have their vehicle impounded, have the cost of their insurance doubled or tripled, and/or serve time in jail for a first offense. As a host or hostess, you have the responsibility to ensure that your guests do not get behind the wheel after drinking. To help solve the drinking and driving problem, everyone in our society should clearly understand why this combination is so dangerous. It is a fact that alcohol is a key factor in vehicular crashes. One person every two minutes is injured in an alcohol-related crash. Over 300,000 people are injured each year in alcohol-related crashes. About three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives. This module is about alcohol-impaired driving. The topics that will be addressed include:

Alcohol-related Traffic Crashes Alcohol and Driving Behavior Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

Eliminating Alcohol Intervention Tec

Alcohol-impaired Driving Page 2 of 13

Alcohol-related Traffic Crashes Alcohol is the deadliest drug when it comes to motor vehicle safety. Alcohol is a depressant that affects judgment, vision, reaction time, and coordinationabilities critical to safe driving. Alcohol alters judgment, and under the influence, people take risks they otherwise would not take this includes driving while impaired. Mixing alcohol with driving is an issue for any age. On average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 40 minutes in alcohol-related crashes. Research conducted by the NHTSA in Traffic Safety Facts 2007 cited that in 2007, a total of 1,670 children age 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those 1,670 fatalities, 245 (15%) occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Out of those 245 deaths, more than half (130) were occupants of a vehicle with a driver who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher.

Alcohol-impaired Driving Page 3 of 13

Alcohol and Driving Behavior All people are affected by the consumption of alcohol. Drinking too much of any beverage with alcohol will make a person impaired. And no two humans are physically or emotionally the same. In addition, expectations, mood, fatigue, and the combination of alcohol with other drugs can have a synergistic effect and alter or increase the effect of alcohol. Anger, depression, and excitement combined with alcohol increases risk and can be unpredictable. Since alcohol is a depressant, being tired can affect how you react to alcohol. Many medications react with alcohol and some people may be more sensitive than others. When used in combination with alcohol, legal medications and illegal drugs can have serious drug interactions and sometimes fatal effects.

Alcohol's Physical Effects on Driving

Safe driving requires sound judgment, reasoning, and concentration. Drivers need to be focused, see clearly, interpret the situation, and react quickly. Once in the brain, alcohol affects these critical skills - judgment, reasoning, and concentration are all impaired. Alcohol works quickly to distort depth perception. It relaxes eye muscles which affects focus and peripheral vision. Drivers under the influence of alcohol also tend to focus on one spot and forget to scan constantly with their eyes. Combined with blurred vision, this results in tunnel vision, which causes a 70 percent reduction in your field of vision. The iris of the eye, which acts the same as a camera shutter, is severely affected by alcohol. The process of opening and closing to shield us from light is delayed from one second to seven seconds. The lens of eyes, which are designed to bring near and far images into focus, begin to be distorted and give us a fuzzy image. Alcohol causes one eye (or both) not to look directly at an object, resulting in double vision. Also, alcohol will decrease the amount of light that reaches our retina and lowers the ability to see in the dark. Meaning your seeing distance in the dark will be less than the stopping distance needed. An alcohol-impaired driver is less able to interpret what he or she sees. They make errors in judging speed, have trouble interpreting shapes, and lack muscle coordination. As BAC increases, the area of the brain that controls muscular movements begins to slow down - the brain takes longer to process information and react. Muscular reactions become slow; steering and braking movements become uncoordinated. No matter how good a driver you are, alcohol will lengthen your reaction time and impair your judgment when driving. After only one drink, alcohol enters the bloodstream and then quickly enters the brain. Alcohol is quick to find its way to the brain because the brain contains more blood than any other organ. The result of consuming alcohol faster than the body can eliminate it results in intoxication, and in some situations can lead to alcohol poisoning - a physiological state produced by a toxic substance.

Implied Consent Law By holding a New York driver license and/or operating a vehicle in the state of New York, you are legally consenting to perform a chemical (breath, blood, urine, or saliva) test if directed to do so by a police officer ( 1194). Zero Tolerance New Yorks Zero Tolerance law applies to persons under age 21 who operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .02% or more, but not more than .07%. Under this law, if you are stopped by a police officer for having consumed alcohol and the officer determines that you are younger than 21 and appear to have consumed alcohol, you will be temporarily detained for the purpose of taking a breathalyzer test to determine your BAC. If you refuse to take a breath test, you will be subject to a license revocation of at least one year

Alcohol-impaired Driving Page 4 of 13

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) In New York State, you may be arrested for any of these offenses: aggravated driving while intoxicated (Agg-DWI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more (.08 BAC), driving while ability impaired by a drug (DWAI-drug), driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI), or driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the percentage of alcohol in your blood and is

usually determined by a chemical test of breath, blood, urine, or saliva. BAC is the amount of alcohol present in a 100 milliliter (mL) volume of blood. If your BAC is 0.10, it means that your blood contains 0.10 grams of alcohol per 100mLs. A BAC of more than .05 percent is legal evidence that you are impaired, a BAC of .08 percent or higher is evidence of intoxication, and a BAC of .18 percent or more is evidence of aggravated driving while intoxicated.

BAC Levels .02- Reaction slow, poor judgment appears equal to:

5 ounce glass of wine or 1 shot of whiskey (80 proof) 12 ounce can of beer or a wine cooler (5% alcohol)

.05- Driving skills deteriorate, muscles relax, coordination decreases. DWAI

10 ounce glass of wine or 2 shots of whiskey (80 proof) Two 12 ounce cans of beer or wine coolers (5% alcohol)

.08- Judgment, inhibitions, coordination, balance, vision, hearing, and speech are affected. DWI

15 ounce glass of wine 3 shots of whiskey (80 proof) Three 12 ounce cans of beer or wine coolers (5% alcohol)

.30 or higher- Death or coma Many people think chemical test evidence is required to prove you were intoxicated or impaired. However, a police officers testimony about your driving, appearance, and behavior when arrested can provide enough evidence alone to convict you, even without a chemical test. If you are found guilty of any alcohol or drug-related driving violation, the court must revoke or suspend your license at the time you are sentenced. Even if the court allows you a 20-day continuation of driving privilege, your license itself will be taken immediately. Vasean's Law As of June 2005, Vasean's Law increases the penalties for someone who kills or severely injures other people while under the influence and eliminates the need to show criminal negligence in prosecuting a drunk driver.

New York DWI Penalties

AGGRAVATED DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED AGG-DWI (0.18 and higher BAC) First Offense (Misdemeanor):

Minimum $1,000 fine, maximum $2,500; Up to 1 year in jail; minimum 1-Year License Revocation

Second Offense within 10 Years (Class E Felony):

Minimum $1,000 fine, maximum $5,000; up to 4 years in jail (minimum 5 days or 30 days of community service); minimum 18-month License Revocation

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED OR DRIVING WHILE ABILITY IMPAIRED BY A DRUG DWI (0.08 and higher BAC) and DWAI-Drug First Offense (Misdemeanor):

Minimum $500 fine, maximum $1,000; up to 1 year in jail; minimum 6-month License Revocation

Second Offense within 10 Years (Class E Felony):

Minimum $1,000 fine, maximum $5,000; up to 4 years in jail (minimum 5 days or 30 days community service); minimum 1-year License Revocation

DRIVING WHILE