Every day in the United States, 28 people die in drunk driving accidents. Impaired driving is not a new problem. The first laws against drunk driving were enacted over 100 years ago, and rules have grown increasingly strict since the 1980s. However, people continue to drink and drive, putting others on the road at risk of serious injury and even death.
What Constitutes Drunk Driving?
Every person processes alcohol differently. The amount of alcohol that will impair a person is based on a number of factors, including weight, gender, how much food is in the stomach, and how quickly the drinks are consumed. Regardless, the more alcohol consumed, the more impaired a person will become. Legally, a driver is considered under the influence when his blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches specific levels:
- .08 percent. This is the illegal level in all 50 states for any person age 21 or over. At this BAC, concentration, braking reaction and ability, speed judgement, visual tracking, and lane maintenance are all compromised.
- .05 to .08 percent. A person can be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois if any additional evidence proves the driver is impaired.
- .04 percent. At this level, any person holding a commercial driver’s license in Illinois or Missouri is considered under the influence.
- .02 percent. Any person under the age of 21 in Missouri who drives at this level is considered under the influence.
- .00 percent. A school bus driver or any person under the age of 21 in Illinois is considered under the influence at this level.
Research indicates that on average, a woman reaches a BAC of .08 percent after consuming three drinks in an hour. Men can typically consume closer to four drinks an hour before reaching that same level. These estimates are based on the consumption of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor, which have the same alcohol content.
A Continuing Problem
Drunk driving remains a serious problem nationwide. In Illinois, 317 people were killed in 2013 in alcohol related crashes, accounting for 32 percent of all crash fatalities. The most recent data from the Missouri State Highway Patrol states that 219 people were killed and over 3,000 people injured in alcohol-related accidents in that state.
Even if you drive safely, other people may not. If you or someone you love suffered injuries due to a drunk driver, you may be entitled to make a claim. Contact us to chat live with a member of our experienced legal team.