Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

If you booze, you lose: Even small amount of alcohol affects driving skills

19.09.2002


For most drinkers, knowing when to say when occurs a lot quicker than they think. A study by Texas A&M University’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Education Studies shows that even a small amount of alcohol - in many cases, as few as one or two beers - can seriously affect judgment and driving decisions.



The study’s bottom line: Even if you’ve consumed very little alcohol, your decision-making skills are hampered more than you realize and the results could be deadly considering that nationally, 38 percent of all traffic deaths involve alcohol. In Texas, the rate is a staggering 49 percent, which leads the nation.

In a study titled Analysis and Evaluation of the Effects of Varying Blood Alcohol Concentrations on Driving Abilities, Texas A&M researchers led by Dr. Maurice Dennis tested 19 men and women of various ages and ethnic backgrounds performing driving skills at different blood alcohol concentrations (BACs).


Dennis and his team measured blood alcohol concentration throughout the driving test. Impaired driving skills were expected by those drivers who had reached illegal BACs, but the surprising results came from drivers who had small amounts of alcohol in their systems.

"In Texas and 20 other states, the blood alcohol concentration level to be legally intoxicated is .08," Dennis says. "But we found that persons who registered a .04 - one-half the amount it takes to be legally intoxicated - had significant impairment in their driving abilities.

"In a nutshell, what it means is you don’t have to be staggering, fall-down drunk to have driving problems if you’ve drinking. A very small amount can affect your driving ability and especially the decisions you make while driving. A person may think to himself or herself, ’I’ve only had a couple of beers so I can drive okay,’ but their judgment can be severely affected and they don’t even know it."

The study will be published in the next issue of The Chronicle of the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association. Helping to administer the driving tests were representatives from the Texas Department of Public Safety

Dennis says it doesn’t take much alcohol for many people to reach that dangerous .04 level. For a 150-pound man, it can be reached in as little as 1-2 beers, or just one beer for a 120-pound woman.

"Our tests showed that at .04, again one-half the level of legal intoxication, drivers had trouble with such skills as skid control, crash simulation and other maneuvering tests through stationary cones," Dennis adds.

The driving tests were conducted during daylight hours, Dennis said, where vision is sharper than nighttime driving. "And you have to remember that most people drink and drive at night and fatigue can further hamper driving skills," he notes.

Dennis said the test results have been recorded on a 12-minute VHS tape and is available statewide for driver education courses and law enforcement agencies.


Dennis study was funded by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Contact: Keith Randall, Office of University Relations, (979) 845-4644.

Keith Randall | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Graphene gives a tremendous boost to future terahertz cameras
16.04.2019 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

nachricht Mount Kilimanjaro: Ecosystems in Global Change
28.03.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>