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The effects of alcohol on driving ability

Most Kentucky residents would not think of getting behind the wheel of their car with a blood alcohol level above the state's .08 percent legal limit, but they may be surprised to learn how much their driving abilities can be compromised by even one or two drinks. A glass of wine, a mug of beer and a shot of liquor all contain about 0.6 ounces of alcohol, which is generally enough to raise the BAC level of a male who weighs 160 pounds by .02 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even one drink can impair drivers. With a BAC level of .02 percent, motorists may find it difficult to focus on the road ahead or concentrate on more than one thing at a time. At a .05 percent blood alcohol level, coordination and emergency response times are impacted. Motorists at the .08 percent legal limit may find it difficult to judge speeds and distances, and their ability to perceive danger and make appropriate decisions is also likely to be diminished.

According to the CDC, drivers with a blood alcohol level of .10 percent will find it difficult to stay in a single lane and will often apply their brakes either too early or too late. Motorists with a BAC of .15 percent or more are considered significantly impaired by law enforcement. These drivers will have diminished motor control and may find it extremely difficult to keep their balance.

Criminal defense attorneys may sometimes choose to challenge the toxicology test results relied upon to establish impairment in a driving under the influence case. Breath testing equipment must be maintained according to strict protocols and regularly calibrated to ensure that it provides accurate results, and even blood tests may be inaccurate in certain situations. There are also medical conditions such as diabetes, hypoglycemia gastro esophageal reflux disorder and that could lead to unreliable BAC results.

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