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The influence of alcohol in car accidents

When it comes to drunk driving, you may be like other Oklahoma residents who think that an individual's alcohol consumption prior to driving only counts if their blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher. Fortunately for the victims of crashes involving alcohol consumption, that isn't necessarily true.

Alcohol begins to affect you from your first drink. As you consume more alcohol, the effects only intensify. Even if your BAC remains below .08, you could find yourself under arrest for drunk driving.

How does alcohol affect the body?

From the first drink, the following behaviors and motor functions are affected:

  • Concentration
  • Coordination
  • Reaction time
  • Judgment
  • Inhibitions

The more you drink, the more each of these skills necessary to safe driving diminish. Research indicates that by the time your BAC reaches .05, your ability to drive safely is significantly compromised.

Who drinks and drives the most?

While people of all ages get behind the wheel after drinking, it may surprise you to know that the most at-risk group involved in fatal drunk driving accidents includes drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. The combination of alcohol and inexperience increases this group's chances of a fatal crash by 10 times.

Of course, the second highest risk group includes those between the ages of 21 and 24. Data shows that fatal accidents involving these drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher hovers around 32 percent of all such crashes.

What if the at-fault driver's BAC was below .08?

Even if a driver believed to be at fault for an accident does not have a BAC of .08 or above, that doesn't mean that person won't be arrested. Police do not solely rely on a breath test or blood test to determine impairment. If field sobriety tests and other evidence indicate that the driver's abilities were diminished due to alcohol, police could still take that individual into custody.

Even if prosecutors can't secure a criminal conviction for DUI for some reason, the burden of proof in a civil action does not require the same level of proof as criminal proceedings. This means that the consumption of alcohol, failure to pass field sobriety tests and other evidence could establish negligence in a civil claim even with a BAC lower than .08.

Serious injuries and fatalities at the hands of a drunk driver

If you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one to a drunk driver, you have legal options. Oklahoma law allows you to seek damages such as medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering, along with other damages. The problem lies in how complex and frustrating civil claims can quickly become. You may benefit greatly from enlisting the help and advice of a seasoned attorney who will work aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve.

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