Drunk driving is a serious problem here in Kansas City, Missouri. In fact, nationally, drunk drivers are responsible for over 10,000 traffic fatalities and more than 290,000 severe injuries annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Financially, drunk drivers cost U.S. taxpayers $199 billion each year in medical expenses and lost productivity. Scarily, by the time of their first Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrest, the average drunk driver will already have driven drunk 80 times before that first arrest, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC). Drunk drivers are adamant about continuing to drive. Even if an arrest is made, 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended license. If you have been injured by a drunk driver in Missouri, contact an experienced drunk driving accident attorney today for consultation.
Illegal Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) in Missouri
Every state in the U.S. has an illegal blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent. This means that if a driver over 21 years is caught with a BAC of 0.08 or more, they will be arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol. If an underage drinker is caught with any amount of alcohol in their system, they will be given a DUI.
How Alcohol Affects the Body
Only time will make a drunk person sober. Once alcohol has entered the bloodstream, there is nothing that will speed up the process. Food, water, and coffee, will not have an affect. The following will affect how a given quantity of alcohol affects an individual:
- Lean body mass (weight minus fat) is the main characteristic at play in terms of how alcohol affects a person. The more lean weight they have, the less a given amount of alcohol will affect them, compared to a person with less lean body mass;
- A person’s metabolic tolerance determines how their body processes alcohol. Frequent drinkers metabolize alcohol at up to twice the rate of a normal person;
- A person’s functional tolerance refers to how alcohol affects them outwardly. Functional tolerance has nothing to do with BAC. However, heavy drinkers feel less intoxicated than normal people and many of the symptoms of drunkenness, such as slurred speech, is less pronounced in them. Their reaction time and cognitive functioning ability is still impaired and any amount of alcohol in their system or in a non-frequent-drinker’s system will result in an impaired ability to drive;
- Hydration, before the alcohol is consumed, increases blood volume and therefore decreases the concentration of alcohol in the blood;
- Food that is already in the stomach slows the rate of alcohol absorption; and
- Gender does play a small role in how alcohol affects a person. Women will become more intoxicated per drink consumed because they have fewer alcohol-metabolizing enzymes than men. In addition to gender, genetics also comes into play. Some people have more or less of those alcohol-metabolizing enzymes.
If you or a loved one were injured by a drunk driver, contact an experienced Kansas City car accident attorney today at the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm to discuss your legal options.