Impaired driving often results in the most devastating crashes that kill and injure people each day across the United States. According to the NHTSA, drunk driving alone killed 10,511 people in the U.S. during 2018, accounting for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities for that year. In Arkansas, the death toll was 134.
People generally know that driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs is dangerous. Some drivers think they are skilled enough to get away with it, yet the statistics speak for themselves. It's important to understand where impairment starts. In many cases, those who drive while impaired don't recognize they shouldn't drive.
Where alcohol impairment begins
It's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Yet drivers can be impaired at a BAC as low as 0.02 percent. While it may not be dangerous to drive at this level, this is when some slight relaxation and decline in judgment starts to kick in. When combined with other factors, such as distracted driving, speeding and drowsiness, mild alcohol impairment can be dangerous.
At a BAC level of 0.05, things start to get more dangerous, despite it being legal to drive at this level. This is when drivers start to experience:
- Loss of small muscle control
- Lowered alertness
- Reduced coordination
- Reduced response time
- Difficulty with steering and tracking objects
Alcohol impairment becomes more profound at levels of 0.08 percent and higher. This is when drivers experience:
- Difficulty detecting obstacles and crash risks
- Slowed thinking
- Inability to stay in a lane
- Inability to control speed
- Loss of visual and auditory information processing
- Loss of consciousness while driving
Other common forms of impairment
Impaired driving is also commonly caused by marijuana, which has a similar effect on drivers as alcohol. While marijuana may be legal in many other states, it still remains illegal in Arkansas unless it's been administered for a serious or chronic illness.
Some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can also cause impairment and drowsiness. Those who use these medications are urged not to drive while taking them.
Get A Lawyer if you were injured by an impaired driver
If you were hurt in a crash involving an impaired driver, you may be entitled to compensation through a car accident claim. In order to get compensation for you, or your loved one, it's best to speak to an experienced Arkansas car accident attorney who can place an accurate value on your claim and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf.
To learn about the legal rights available to you, contact McDaniel Law Firm, PLC and schedule your free consultation with our legal team.