If a person has a couple drinks at a restaurant or party in Indianapolis, they may think it is OK to drive themselves home. This may not be the case. Even having a slight “buzz” from alcohol could make it dangerous to drive and could even lead to a drunk driving accident that could put the injured party in a position to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that each day approximately 28 individuals in the U.S. lose their lives in drunk driving accidents. To put it another way, that is one death every 52 minutes. In 2019 alone, 10,142 individuals were killed in drunk driving crashes — deaths that could have been prevented.
Effects of alcohol on driving
Indiana law states that if a person has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above, they are too drunk to drive safely. This is understandable. At a BAC of 0.08, a driver will find it difficult to concentrate, could have short-term memory loss, may find it difficult to control the speed they are driving at, may find it more difficult to process information while driving and may find their perception is impaired. It is easy to see how this level of intoxication breaches a motorist’s duty of care to drive reasonably under the circumstances and could lead to a car crash.
What if a driver’s BAC is 0.05? They are not drunk “per se.” Maybe they just have a slight “buzz.” A person with a BAC of 0.05 may find their coordination is reduced as is their ability to track moving objects such as other drivers on the road. Steering the vehicle becomes more difficult. Also, the driver will find it more difficult to respond to emergency driving situations. Any of these effects could lead to a motor vehicle accident. If such a crash causes injuries or fatalities, the drunk driver could be held liable in civil court.
Buzzed driving is dangerous
Given the effect even one or two drinks can have on a motorist, it may be safe to say that if you plan on drinking, find a safe way to get home other than driving yourself. If you were recently struck by a drunk driver and have suffered injuries as a result, you will want to explore all your rights and options, including whether it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit.