Let's Talk About Drinking & Driving

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In Minnesota the average amount of people killed by impaired drivers is 240 people each year and thousands of others leave crashes injured.  In this month's newsletter we will talk about what effects alcohol has on driving, underage drinking, and lower-risk choices that can be made instead of getting behind the wheel impaired. 
 

It is with great responsibility that we all have to not drink and drive. We not only save our own lives, but others.


WHAT EFFECT DOES ALCOHOL HAVE ON DRIVING SKILLS:

  • Judgement: 

-Consuming alcohol may cause a person to misjudge how impaired they actually are. 
-Drivers under the influence of alcohol may misjudge stopping distance, drive too fast, or fail to wear a seat belt. 

  • Vision: 

- Range of eye motion decreases. 
-Reduced peripheral vision.
- Blurred vision at high alcohol-concentration levels. 

  • Reaction time: 

-  Under the influence of alcohol drivers are not able to respond quickly to the traffic or pedestrians on the road. 

  • Steering: 

-Drivers who are impaired usually tend to "over-steer". This causes weaving and running off the road.

  • Perception:

-  Sounds and sights usually do not get interpreted to impaired drivers correctly. 

  •  Coordination and Balance: 

- The ability to combine steadiness with speed and accuracy is lost for impaired drivers. 

  • Attention: 

- Drivers have a hard time giving their attention to focus on the many tasks required to operate a vehicle. 


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FACTS:

- A 12- ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, a typical mixed drink, and a 9-ounce wine cooler usually contain about the same amount of alcohol. 

- A cup of coffee or a shower is not going to help you sober up! The only way you can reduce your alcohol concentration is to wait. Alcohol is eliminated from the body one drink per hour, but many factors influence the amount of alcohol that is retained. 

- Men and women affected by alcohol differently. The reason for this is because men generally have more muscle tissue than women. The muscle tissue does not allow alcohol absorption into the blood stream as fast is it would without it. 

- Factors such as age, gender, body weight, mood, sleep, food intake, metabolism, and genetics have an impact on how alcohol affects a person. 


UNDERAGE DRINKING:

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Minnesota is a no tolerance state. It is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with ANY detectable amount of alcohol. 

  • 1st conviction of driving under influence under 21: 

- Driving privileges are suspended for 30 days. 

  • 2nd conviction of driving under influence under 21: 

- Driving privileges are suspended for 180 days. 

  • What is VANESSA'S LAW:

- An unlicensed teen driver with a crash-related moving violation or an alcohol/controlled substance violation cannot be given a license until age 18. At 18 the driver must take the knowledge test, fulfill reinstatement requirements, obtain a instruction permit and have it for 6 months, and pass the road test. 

- In other words: You are under the age of 18 and you are convicted of drinking and driving you will have to take driver's education all over AGAIN. That is 30 hours of classroom and 6 hours of behind the wheel. Bummer! Don't drink and drive! 


LOWER -RISK CHOICES: 
A few alternatives to driving below are below: 

  • Call a friend or family member.

  • Call a taxi service.

  • Stay at your friend or family member's house.

  • Take away your impaired friends or family member's keys.

Remember the importance of talking to your loved ones about drinking and driving.

Ashley Deneweth