Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

Think you are "just buzzed"? It is called drunk driving.

Sierra called me. She told me her best friend died right in front of her when a drunk driver hit them.

Listen here:

Sierra used this tragedy in her life as motivation to try to help others and keep them from experiencing the same type of loss that she did. I commend her for what she is doing, and I want to show my support by lending my voice to the conversation about drunk driving.

There have been good campaigns to raise awareness about drunk driving. Yet even so, alcohol-related car accidents claimed one life every 52 minutes in the United States or 10,000 lives a year. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). This is the equivalent of 20 Jumbo Jets crashing and killing everyone on board. Can you imagine the public outrage if 20 Jumbo Jets crashed in one year? 10,000 lives a year this is unacceptable.

I hope you are not under the misconception that the drivers in these drunk driving-related accidents are all alcoholics or raging drunks. Many times it is someone who had one too many drinks and still thought they were o.k. to drive.

The Ad Council put out a series of ads a few years ago highlighting the fact that Buzzed Drivingis Drunk Driving. This message is important to repeat.

Today I want to dig a little deeper into what buzzed driving might include, so that anyone reading this will no longer be able to say, ¦but I thought I was fine.

Here is a statement from the NHTSA “

Alcohol not only impairs your ability to drive, it impairs your judgment about whether you can or should drive. Too often, people who drink think they are okay to get behind the wheel because they only feel a buzz. The truth is you don't have to be falling down drunk to be a menace to everyone around you on the highways. Remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.

Here's another way to look at it “ If you have been drinking enough to say "I'm just buzzed" then basically you are already drunk. Your ability to drive safely has already been impaired. One doesn't have to be falling down drunk, reeling from wall to wall to have their judgment and coordination affected.

Now I'm going to get a bit technical for a moment because I think this is important to understand.

In all 50 states, the LEGAL Blood alcohol limit is .08. However, let's look at how the body is affected at even lesser levels of blood alcohol content (BAC).

With a BAC of 0.03 - 0.06, you experience feelings of warmth, relaxation, mild sedation; exaggeration of emotion and behavior; slight decrease in reaction time and in fine-muscle coordination; impaired judgment about continued drinking.

By 0.07 - 0.09 you demonstrate more noticeable speech impairment and disturbance of balance; impaired motor coordination, hearing and vision; feeling of elation or depression; increased confidence; may not recognize impairment.

So how much do you have to drink to get to these BAC levels NOT? THAT. MUCH.

For an average 150-pound person, if they have 1 drink in one hour, they will be right around a .03 BAC and after two drinks they would be at a .06. (A drink equals 12 oz of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol.) You need to ask yourself already, is it worth the risk to get behind the wheel?

Also “ you may have heard it said, It's been an hour, since I've had a drink so I'm fine. But the truth is that the body absorbs alcohol more quickly than it processes it. This is why alcohol concentrations build steadily while drinking. On average, your blood alcohol content only decreases by .015 an hour. So if you had two beers in an hour raising your BAC to .06 you can only subtract .015 from that for the time allowance.

I share these detailed numbers because I want you to understand how little it takes to become impaired. There are so many misconceptions and I want to shoot straight with you because I KNOW you don't want your uninformed actions to ever take life. Find more information by clicking here to go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you are ever in doubt, just get a ride!

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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