How blood alcohol content affects a person’s ability to drive

Even drivers with a blood alcohol level below the legal limit can still endanger the lives of others on the road with them.

Driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 or higher is considered a crime associated with severe penalties in West Virginia and in all other 50 states in the country, states the Governors Highway Safety Association. However, what many people do not realize is that even having a BAC level below the legal limit of 0.08 can cause serious car accidents that endanger the lives of passengers, pedestrians and drivers.

Effects on driving

Although driving with any amount of alcohol in a person's system is dangerous, how significant the effects are depend on how high the person's BAC level is. For example, drivers with a BAC level of:

  • 0.02, which is the equivalent of about two alcoholic beverages, may experience an altered mood and some loss of judgement. This creates a decline in visual functions as well as a decline in the ability to simultaneously perform two tasks.
  • 0.05 may experience exaggerated behavior, impaired judgement, lowered alertness and a release of inhibition. Those with a BAC level of 0.05 may experience reduced coordination, difficulties steering their vehicle and reduced response times to emergency driving situations.
  • 0.08 may experience poor muscle coordination and may have a hard time detecting danger while driving. Having a BAC level of 0.08 can affect drivers' concentration, memory, speed control and ability to process information behind the wheel.

Those who reach a BAC level of 0.10 and decide to get behind the wheel of a vehicle may have far less muscle control than is typical and experience a significant loss of balance. This creates substantial impairment in vehicle control and difficulties processing visual and auditory information while driving.

The scope of the problem

Those who decide to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car are responsible for causing significant injuries and deaths on the roads of West Virginia every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that every day in the U.S., an average of 28 people die after involvement in a car accident with an impaired driver. This means that approximately every 53 minutes, someone dies because of a drunk driving accident.

Those who are injured in a collision involving an impaired driver in West Virginia may experience severe financial, emotional and physical injuries. For this reason, those who were harmed in a drunk driving accident should reach out to an attorney in their area for assistance asserting their rights to fair and proper compensation.