How Impaired Driving Impacts Lives

Impaired Driving Impacts Lives

Hitting the open road leads to a world of adventures. You can travel the country, visit distant friends, or simply see the sights nearby. However, that road can become perilous at times due to impaired drivers. Below, we’ll go over common types of driving impairments and how they can impact the lives of every person out on the motorway.

Typically, the first thought that comes to mind with the term “impaired driving” is the influence of alcohol. That’s because motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers account for an astonishing 30% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. In fact, someone in this country dies in a car crash every 39 minutes because of an alcohol-impaired driver.

Studies on crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers show that 62% of people who died in 2020 were the alcohol-impaired drivers themselves. The remaining 38% were passengers of the alcohol-impaired drivers, drivers or passengers of another vehicle, or nonoccupants, such as a pedestrian.

Drugs are another common cause behind driving impairment. Marijuana can affect drivers by slowing their reaction times and decision-making abilities. It can also impair coordination and distort perception. Harder drugs, such as cocaine or illicit amphetamines, often have the same effects and can impair drivers even further by impacting skills such as attention and memory, in the short and long term.

Even prescription and over-the-counter medications can lead to sleepiness, impaired vision, diminished coordination, and other harmful side effects that make it difficult and dangerous to drive. When drivers choose to use multiple substances simultaneously, such as alcohol and marijuana, it can further increase impairment drastically.

Aside from the more well-known risks of alcohol and drug use, there are subtler causes commonly behind driving impairment. A major one is fatigue. Did you know that 1 out of 25 drivers on the road are drowsy if not fatigued? A lack of sleep can increase the risk of getting in a car accident significantly.

For instance, drivers who’ve only had four hours of sleep have an 11.5 times higher risk than those who got eight hours. These risks increase the longer someone is deprived of sleep and can even reach the point where it causes impairment so severe it’s similar to an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .10%.

Avoiding the negative outcomes of impaired driving requires every driver to act responsibly. From choosing not to drink and drive to getting regular sleep, we all need to do our part to mitigate potential risks and keep the roads safe.

Want to learn more about other causes of impaired driving, such as distractions and bad weather? Check out the accompanying resource for further information.

Infographic provided by car injury attorneys in Atlanta, Van Sant Law