Driving under influences i.e. driving while one is intoxicated, operating under influence, drunk driving, drink driving, drinking and riving or impaired driving is described as the act in which an individual operates any motorized machinery after consuming alcohol or even other drugs. Driving under influence is a criminal offence in most countries in the world and laws have been enacted that prohibit operation of motorized machinery while having specific blood alcohol content level failure to which one can be subject to prosecution under the per se laws.
Driving while drunk or intoxicated is a dangerous combination as drivers with a high blood alcohol concentration or content are exposed to a greater risk of being involved in car accidents, vehicular deaths and even highway injuries which are other wise preventable in nature. It’s unfortunate that a many lives are lost as result of drunk driving yet every single death and injury caused by such acts is totally preventable. Proportion of crashes related to alcohol has dropped in the recent decades though most of them are still preventable and in spite of the great progress, the alcohol impaired driving still remains as one of the serious national problem that affects many victims tragically every year (Buddy, 2007).
It’s often impossible to categorically rate how many units of alcohol an individual can consume before it exceeds the legal limit and this is attributed to that fact that the speed at which alcohol enters the blood stream varies radically depending on factors like drinking on an empty stomach and drinking with food over prolonged periods. Also tired ness has been found to affect one concentration and absorption. Facts on drunk driving reveals that most drivers who had something to drink often have low blood alcohol concentration or content (BAC) and a low number of the get involved in fatal accidents but on the other hand the few drivers who has a BAC’s higher than .15 most of them get involved in fatal crashes. These facts have also revealed that an average BAC among drivers who are fatally injured in these road crashes is .16 and that according to Insurance institutes for highway safety )IIHS) the relative risks of death of drivers in single crashes whose BAC is high is 385 times as compared to those of zero-BAC drivers. In addition to that the risk of the male’s drivers is 707 times that of sober drivers (NHTSA, 2007).
Moreover facts indicate that high BAC drivers often tend to males who are aged between 25 and 35 years of age and usually have a history of driving with influence convictions as well as polydrug abuse. Alcohol impaired driving and the associated motor-vehicle accidents have become a major public-health problem and nation studies have revealed that approximately 25 percent of students in colleges have reported to have driven under the influence and even greater percentage reported to have been driven by driver believed to be intoxicated. The frequency and prevalence of alcohol related and risk-traffic behaviors have taken a significant upturn when individual attain the age of 21 year of age (NHTSA, 2007).
Drinking reduce some ability to concentrate and react to situations that happen suddenly during driving and the more alcohol is in ones blood the more difficult it becomes in judging distances as well as reacting to sudden hazards on the road. To worsen the situation is the fact that vision of drunk drivers becomes blurred impairing the essential abilities of proper vision fro safe driving. A driver’s ability to be able to split his attention between two or even more sources of nay visual information impaired by a BAC as low as 0.02 thus a concentration of alcohol in the blood lead to impairments in the psychomotor performance of the individual as it results in slower eye movement, reaction time, visual perception and information processing. Therefore risks of motor vehicle crashing increases with an increase in the drivers BAC level and thus more demanding the task of driving becomes resulting to greater impairment that is caused by even very low doses of alcohol (Buddy, 2007).
Teenage and young drivers are more likely to be involved in road crashes and this is attributed to their inexperienced driving and the situation is worsened when alcohol is introduced into the equation making the effects even worse. Research has shown that at lower BAC young peopled have had substantially higher rates of crashes as compared to other age groups. Even without driving under the influence lack of experience as well as immaturity which contributes as the main causes of motor vehicle crashes in teenagers aged between 16 and 10 years. Their lack of experience renders them les likely to cope with hazardous situations successfully as compared to more experienced drivers and their risks are also include to risky driving behaviors such as over speeding and the tendency to underestimate dangerous consequence while overestimating their driving skills.
Some of the practical ways in which drunk driving can be used to prevent the acts of drunk driving includes the following: establishment of DWI courts, suspension or provoking of drivers licenses, confiscation or impounding of vehicle plates, immobilization or impounding of vehicles, increasing of penalties like jail or fines for drunk drivers, enforcing of container bans and finally mandating alcohol educations. Some of other useful measures significant in curbing of the effects of drunk driving is use of designated drivers, installation of air bags, safety seat belts and effective and practical ways that promotes sober stay (Clinical & Experimental Research, 2010).