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NHTSA on how alcohol affects driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that drunk driving kills over 10,000 people every year in New York and the rest of the U.S. Every day, about 30 people in this country are dying in drunk driving crashes. It's important to understand, then, what kind of effect alcohol can have on drivers.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and can impair one's thinking and muscle coordination. With a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02, drivers will experience some loss of judgment as well as a diminished ability to track fast-moving objects and do two things at the same time. With a 0.05 BAC, drivers will find it harder to respond to emergencies and control their steering.

As almost everyone knows, a 0.08 BAC is the legal limit in all 50 states. At this level, drivers will have trouble controlling their speed and may even experience short-term memory lapses. Furthermore, alcohol can cause difficulties with braking and staying in the same lane.

A DUI can be considered as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Penalties include license suspension, fines and jail time. In New York, as in other states, first-time offenders are required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This measures BAC through the breath and keeps drunk drivers from starting the car.

Drunk drivers who cause car accidents will likely face not only criminal charges but also a personal injury claim from those who were injured. Drunk driving is, after all, a form of negligence. Victims may want to see a lawyer who works in personal injury law because there are limitations as to who can file a third-party insurance claim. If the case is valid, though, an attorney may proceed to build it up with the help of investigators and other third parties.

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