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Health Risks and Legal History of Alcohol Levels

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,597 people were killed in United States traffic accidents in December 2010. Of those, 775 deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers. A 2006 study by the NHTSA estimated that there is one drunk driving fatality in the United States every 30 minutes.

 

Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Georgia DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.

 

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), 29 percent of Georgia auto accidents involve alcohol or drugs. The legal threshold for drunkenness has decreased over time and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently recommended that the threshold be reduced again.

 

Yahoo! Health recently posted an article describing alcohol's impact on a male weighing between 180-200 pounds in a one hour period:

 

  • Blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.02 percent (usually about two drinks): Sense of judgment is lost and decision-making skills are impaired.
  • BAC level of 0.05 percent (usually about two or three drinks; the NTSB recently recommended that the legal BAC level be reduced to this): Inhibitions decrease and spontaneity becomes more common due to a condensed stimulation in the brain.
  • BAC level of 0.07 percent (usually about four drinks): Danger and reward assessment impaired due to the brain's reduced ability to process bad criticism.
  • BAC level of 0.08 percent (usually about five drinks; this is the current legal BAC threshold): Memory functions slow leading to forgetfulness and lack of awareness. Short-term memories are impacted. The amygdala portion of the brain (the cautionary system for peril) shuts down.
  • BAC level of 0.10 percent (usually about six drinks; this was the former legal BAC threshold): Balance severely impacted, especially equilibrium. Aggressiveness increases.
  • BAC level of 0.11 percent (usually about six drinks): Motor control becomes problematic. Moods are exaggerated due to the withholding of water in the brain's frontal lobe.
  • BAC level of 0.15 percent (usually about seven drinks): Nausea and vomiting are often experienced. Toxins are expelled by the stomach.
  • BAC level of 0.20 percent (usually about ten drinks): Loss of consciousness often occurs. Memory is significantly altered or completely debilitated.
  • BAC level of 0.25 percent (usually about 12 drinks): The body often becomes numb leading to uncontrollable urination, extreme perspiration and highly impaired reflexes.
  • BAC level of 0.30 percent (usually about 16 drinks): Lack of awareness to one's surroundings. Muscle coordination, blurred vision and convulsions are common. Many people lose consciousness and require hospitalization.
  • BAC level of 0.35 percent (usually about 18 drinks): This level of impairment is comparable to surgical anesthesia.
  • BAC level above 0.40 percent (usually more than 20 drinks): Gag reflexes are blocked leading to choking on vomit. Coma and death are serious risks.

 

If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.

 


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia