What is Buzzed Driving?

speedometer of a car

Even after you’ve had just a few drinks, you should never get behind the wheel. Regardless of your blood alcohol content (BAC), alcohol can still impair your ability to drive safely. When you’re driving and your BAC is above the legal limit, this is referred to as drunk driving; however, buzzed driving is also dangerous and can lead to car accidents, injuries, or even, in some instances, death, according to callpaul.com.

Buzzed driving refers to when someone operates a vehicle with a BAC between 0.1 and 0.7 percent. While this may not be technically considered “drunk driving,” buzzed driving can still significantly inhibit your ability to operate a vehicle in a safe and effective manner. To better understand this concept, we’re taking a closer look at buzzed driving, how it affects your driving abilities, and the costs and repercussions of buzzed or drunk driving.

Is Buzzed Driving Illegal?

This is a tricky question to answer. While buzzed driving is dangerous and always a bad idea, buzzed driving is not illegal because, technically, the driver is still under the legal BAC limit. However, since your ability to drive is still impaired, you may be pulled over and can still be arrested for reckless driving with a “wet reckless” charge. This may still result in fees, jail time, and license suspension.

Effects of Buzzed Driving

Even one or two drinks can have an impact on your ability to drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, any amount of alcohol consumption impairs your thinking, coordination, and reaction time. Here’s a closer look at some of the effects that you may feel as your BAC increases.

·  BAC of 0.02 – impact on your ability to see and perform multiple tasks at once.

·  BAC of 0.05 – impact on coordination, ability to steer and focus, reduced response time.

·  BAC of 0.08 – impact on concentration, speed control, impaired perception, and even short-term memory loss (this is the legal BAC in the United States).

·  BAC of 0.10 – impact on your ability to steer, stay in your lane, and brake in time.

·  BAC of 0.15 – impact on your primary visual and auditory information processing, ability to control your vehicle and concentrate on one task.

Costs of Buzzed and Drunk Driving

In addition to the risk of harming yourself and others, there are significant legal costs and repercussions for driving while buzzed or drunk. If you’re pulled over with alcohol or drugs in your system, you will face legal repercussions of some sort. Depending on the state and whether or not you’re a repeat offender, these charges will range in severity.

In Colorado, for example, a first-time DUI charge can cost you close to 4,000 dollars. This total cost includes conviction fines, jail fees, probation fees, a PDD surcharge, and additional court fees.

No matter which state you live in, a DUI will cause you to temporarily lose your license. The suspension time can range and there can be a reinstatement fee in most states that you must pay before getting your license back. If you depend on your vehicle for work, this can be a major obstacle to your livelihood.

Even after the initial DUI charge, the financial repercussions are felt long after. In some states, you’ll need to install a car ignition interlock device, which costs a few hundred dollars. This device requires you to use a breathalyzer to ensure you haven’t been drinking before your car will start. Even after this device is removed, your car insurance premiums will dramatically increase following a DUI.

How to Avoid Driving Under the Influence 

There’s never a good excuse to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That ride home will never be worth the risk of potentially getting a DUI, going to jail, causing an auto accident, or injuring yourself or others. Here are some strategies for avoiding buzzed and drunk driving and ensuring your own safety and the safety of others.

1. Ride-Sharing Services

In our new “sharing economy,” it’s easier than ever to catch a ride home. Services such as Uber and Lyft operate all over the country and can get you or a friend an affordable ride home at any hour. You can also, of course, go the more traditional route and call a taxi.

2. Designate a Driver

If you’re attending a party or even where you know alcohol will be consumed, you should always go into the evening with a designated driver. This all comes down to having a plan and making the right preparations.

3. Take Care of Your Friends

If a friend is attempting to drive home buzzed or drunk, step in and take action. If you’re sober, offer them a ride home or help them make arrangements with a designated driver. You can also offer them a place to stay. While a friend may be frustrated with you in the moment, they’ll certainly thank you the next morning when they wake up safe and without a DUI charge.

4. Be a Good Example

If you’re a parent, you should talk about buzzed and drunk driving with your teens—even before they ever get a driver’s license. Be open and honest with them about the dangers of driving under the influence. Also, once your teen is driving, try to always be accessible in case they find themselves in an uncomfortable position about driving after consuming alcohol.

Conclusion – What is Buzzed Driving?

No matter how many drinks you’ve had, you should never take the risk of operating a vehicle. Even if you feel fine, you may not realize that your judgement is still slightly impaired and your reaction times will be slower. Additionally, it also takes time for your body to absorb the alcohol, which is when you begin to feel the effects.

If you’re involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, you should immediately reach out to a trusted auto accident attorney. These professionals can help you understand what just happened, receive the proper medical care, and determine whether or not your case warrants any legal compensation.