Lesser-Known Influences on Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

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Driving under the influence is a crime that cuts across all social and economic strata. Virtually no one is immune from being arrested for a DUI, including police officers, judges, and politicians. While a significant percentage of all DUI arrests are of repeat offenders — such as a Canton, Ohio man arrested for his 10th DUI — a majority are everyday people, unpleasantly surprised with their first arrest. 

Even today, with the near universal public awareness of DUI dangers, there are still many lesser-known aspects of DUIs that are important to be cognizant of, particularly if you find yourself even just occasionally driving and responsibly consuming alcohol. One such concept can be found in the more-recent notion of “buzzed driving”. Many will recognize the now-familiar PSA “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving”, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it can be difficult to internalize just how accurate that can be. With the US legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) seared into the collective consciousness, it is easy to forget that it is the actual impairment caused by the influence of alcohol that makes it so dangerous. For example, at just .02 BAC, visual functions and task performance begin to degrade. From there, steering coordination, response time, even the ability to track moving objects, such as other vehicles, all begins to suffer — and all well before reaching the legal limit of .08 BAC. Do not think that just being under the legal limit of .08 will shield you from a DUI; ‘low-blow’ convictions, that is, being convicted of a DUI despite blowing an intoxilyzer reading of .07 BAC or below, can and do occur in many jurisdictions. 

Another topic to be aware of, are DUIs that result from drugs other than alcohol. With contemporary events such as the increasing legalization of cannabis and the recent opioid epidemic, public awareness of non-alcohol DUIs has dramatically widened. However, while may be obvious to not overdo drugs anymore than you would drink, it can become especially tricky when the two inadvertently mix. This can include even non-narcotic medications and over-the-counter drugs. The effects of alcohol and another substance can not only be additive, but at times synergistic, and one drink can start to feel like several. Be mindful of all substances you consumed during and prior to alcohol, even much earlier that same day, regardless of whether or not they otherwise seem harmless. It doesn’t take an attorney or pharmacist to practice general discretion with drugs and alcohol. However, consider a DUI attorney Canton OH

Lastly, don’t forget that alcohol rises on a curve. Once you take a drink, your BAC is not immediately on a steady decline. That alcohol must first get absorbed before it can begin to get removed. You may feel and actually be legally unimpaired at the time you hit the road, but if you decide to take one last shot before driving, you may suddenly become impaired while behind the wheel when that alcohol takes effect. Make sure you factor in the rise of alcohol in your system as much as you would its fall. DUI arrests are not a trivial events, and they can and do happen to anyone. Staying aware of the unexpected aspects of DUIs can help ensure you remain a safe, responsible driver.


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