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Why Do People Drive Drunk? Science Reveals One Answer

September 7th, 2010

We’ve met thousands of people who have been injured by drunk drivers. Which means that we’ve had a lot of time to ask the same question those victims and their families always ask:  Why would anyone drive drunk?

A recent study published in a psychology journal (Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology), researchers found that when people have been drinking, the brain feels “not drunk” before the brain and the body stop acting drunk. That means that people might get behind the wheel and drive drunk because they think they have sobered up enough to drive. In reality, they are impaired, both cognitively and physically. That leads to bad decisions–the bad decision to drive after drinking, and bad decisions while on the road, such as making judgements while traveling through intersections or changing lanes.

According to Peter J. Snyder, Ph.D., professor of neurology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, the bottom line of the study is that “subjective perception of intoxication is a poor indicator of sobriety and the ability to operate a motor vehicle.” (As quoted in an article posted on ScienceDaily.)

Our bottom line: If you have been drinking alcoholic beverages at all, don’t drive. Once your blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.08 to 0.10–that is, over the legal limit in all states–the risk of a motor vehicle crash is about 50 times higher than when you are sober.  If you don’t stay off the road for your own sake, think of the potential devastation to the lives of other people on the road, and to the lives of your family if you are injured or sent to prison for DUI manslaughter.

At HensonFuerst, we are committed to seeing drunk drivers pay for their dangerous behavior. We support law enforcement efforts to keep drunk drivers off the road, and we fight tirelessly to get compensation for victims of drunk drivers.