When you are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle all of your senses must be on alert. You need to react quickly to potentially threatening conditions and then make split-second decisions. Being a good driver takes skill and judgment. No matter how good a driver you are, however, alcohol will decrease your skill and will damage your judgment. This is why drinking and driving is so hazardous. You and I both know that we don't want to put ourselves, or our love ones in potential danger. .
I. Drinking and driving has many risks. .
A. Even one drink might be enough to impair your driving ability.
1. From the moment alcohol enters your bloodstream, you begin to lose your ability to think clearly.
2. From drinking your reaction time, depth perception, coordination, speed perception, and vision are all impaired.
3. Alcohol also affects your judgment. After drinking you don't have the judgment to realize that something is wrong.
B. Fifty percent of all highway deaths are alcohol related.
1. The 16,189 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes during 1997 represent an average of one alcohol related fatality every 32 minutes.
2. More than 327,000 people were injured in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present- an average of one person injured about every 2 minutes.
3. About three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol related crash in their lives.
II. Drinking and driving has many legal issues. .
A. When you use public roads, you agree to give law enforcement officials permission to test you for alcohol use if you are arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving (implied consent-law in 50 states).
1. You will take a test to determine your blood alcohol concentration.
2. In New York, adult drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .1% or higher can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI).
3. If you are under 21, with any blood alcohol concentration between .02 and .07% you violate the under 21 year old minimum drinking laws (zero tolerance).