We've heard it so many times - don't drink and drive. Everyone is taught this in driver's ed. The signs are posted everywhere on our highways. Spots run on television constantly. And still many people just don't get the message. In a Seattle area crash a 25 year old man was driving the wrong way down the 520 freeway and crashed head-on into a woman driving in the proper direction. She was killed and the driver is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. The victim was a neighbor in an area where I had previously lived and remember the local barbecues we all attended. It really hits home when someone you know is the victim of a drunk driving incident.
It is a fact shown by a number of extensive research studies that drinking and driving drastically adds to the risk of a crash. The above graph shows that even a very small BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) results in increased risk of a crash. BAC is a function of the number of drinks and when they were consumed as shown in this BAC table. As can be seen from the graph, as few as 2 drinks can raise a person's BAC to .05 increasing the risk of a crash by a factor of 50%. Driving at the legal limit of .08% BAC doubles the risk of a crash and the risk rises very quickly after that point.
And the worst part is that those who drink and drive are putting everyone in the vicinity at risk. In the story noted above, the driver was doing her daily commute and wound up in the morgue through no fault of her own.
A few actions you can take to help:
- Don't drink if you are going to drive!
- Put down the cell phone and pay attention as alert drivers are more likely to avoid a crash.
- Avoid driving in the vicinity of an erratically driven car.
- Notify the authorities if you see someone who is driving dangerously.
- Don't let someone you know drive after drinking.
- If you are going to drink in a group, use a designated driver who isn't drinking.
- If you are drinking and have any doubts about your ability to drive, call a cab or a friend.
Drinking and driving incidents are still much too prevalent today, so please don't drink and drive.