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How alcohol impairs your driving abilities

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2023 | Criminal Law

The legal definition of drunk driving in Massachusetts is getting behind the wheel of any vehicle and operating it when your blood alcohol level is 0.08 BAC. Drunk driving charges apply for all motor vehicles, including golf carts and boats. Cars, motorcycles and trucks pose the greatest threat, as these vehicles commonly travel roadways.

Impairment starts below the legal limit

Alcohol can begin producing effects that impair your driving ability even when you are not legally drunk. A BAC as low as 0.01 can start to affect you. You may not meet the legal definition of drunk driving, yet having alcohol in your system can result in the following:

  • Slow reaction times and reduced concentration, affecting the way you react to hazards on the road
  • Impaired hand-eye coordination, causing drivers to struggle with putting keys in the ignition, having difficulty steering and swerving on the road
  • Poor judgment and memory loss, causing you to make questionable decisions without considering the consequences
  • The side effects of the above put drivers at increased risk of an accident
  • Life-changing consequences of harming yourself or others, along with legal and financial difficulties

If you feel impaired, you probably are

Knowing how alcohol affects you can help you avoid dangerous situations behind the wheel. Even if you aren’t charged with drunk driving, you could face other charges like reckless driving when involved in an accident. The best defense is not getting behind the wheel at all if you feel even slightly impaired.

Plan ahead for times when you know you will consume alcohol or call for a ride when you know you cannot drive. Use a designated driver if you are celebrating with a group. Know your limits when consuming alcohol, as some individuals, especially women, become impaired much more easily depending on how their bodies metabolize alcohol.