Ottawa Township High School Drivers Education Chapter 15 – Alcohol, Other Drugs and Driving 15.1 Effects of Alcohol on Driving Safely Alcohol is the most commonly used drug in our society today. It is by far the most frequently found drug in fatally injured drivers. All states now enforce a minimum drinking age of 21 Alcohol Facts: Alcohol is a drug(depressant)- It is a poison(mild toxin) Dehydrates body Alcohol effects on the body’s central nervous system Effects of Alcohol vary from person to person One of the most serious problems of alcohol is the problem of the drinking driver Young drinking drivers are involved in fatal crashes at twice the rate of drivers aged 21 and older Nearly half of those killed in alcohol-related collisions had not been drinking but were victims of drunk drivers More than half of all fatalities during holidays are alcohol related How Alcohol Affects Behavior: It affects the way people think and behave The same amount of alcohol does not affect all people the same way Alcohol does not even affect the same person in the same way in all situations Mental Abilities and Alcohol Slows the activity of the brain Alcohol is not digested but absorbed quickly in the blood stream through the wall and linings of the entire digestive track Quickly flows to the brain Affects judgment and reasoning – two most critical mental skills needed by drivers Judgment and Reasoning – Decreases your ability to reason clearly and make sound judgments Driver feels as though thinking and judgment abilities are sharper, quicker, and more accurate than usual May take chances they normally would not take IPDE process is affected when judgment and reasoning abilities are reduced Target areas may become unclear and scanning of zones may become erratic. Alcohol distorts vision More likely to fix and stare Inhibitions – the inner forces of personality that restrain or hold back one’s impulsive behavior Physical Abilities and Alcohol: Muscular movements, reflexes and balance begins to slow The brain takes longer to process the information and react to the danger Reaction Time and Coordination Alcohol slows reflexes and reaction time Seeing and Speaking Abilities One of the most dangerous effects of alcohol is impaired vision which occur in visual acuity and peripheral vision Visual acuity can become impaired – person’s ability to focus becomes fuzzy and unclear Alcohol also affects the reflex action of the eyes As approaching lights – driver may become temporally blind because pupils do not respond rapidly Might see multiple images – pg 317 Other Physical Problem Brain controls breathing and heartbeat can become impaired Alcohol in the Body B.A.C – stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration o It is the % of alcohol in the bloodstream .08= legal limit Over .08 = intoxicated Amount of Alcohol in Standard Drinks: 1- 12oz beer = 1- 5oz glass of wine = 1- shot 5 beers = 5 glasses of wine = 5 shots Factors Affecting BAC- the amount of alcohol you have in your body **Mouth wash will increase your BAC 1. Amount of alcohol consumed2. Amount of time over which a given amount of alcohol is consumed 3. Person’s body weight 4. Sex – women absorb alcohol into the bloodstream faster than men 5. Food in system a. If you have food in your stomach, it takes alcohol longer to get into your bloodstream. b. On an empty stomach, alcohol will get to your bloodstream quicker. Tolerance – need more and more to get the same effect o Tolerance won’t affect BAC, but as a person’s tolerance increases the amount they can drink and still function will increase. Controlling Impairment: The body rids itself of alcohol at a rate of a standard drink an hour o ½ - ¾ oz per hour Only time can reduce the body’s BAC and a person’s degree of impairment o You have to wait it out. 3 types of Chemically Testing BAC o Breath Test o Urine Test o Blood Test Myths and Truths about Alcohol: I can be sober by drinking black coffee, taking a cold shower, or doing exercises. Myth/Truth One little drink won’t hurt me. Myth/Truth I will not be affected because I’m only drinking beer. Myth/Truth I can drive better after a few drinks Myth/Truth A young person cannot become a problem drinker Myth/Truth 15.2 Other Drugs and Driving Over-the-Counter Medicines ------Drugs purchased at a store can cause side effects Prescription Medicines -------------Drugs that are prescribed by a doctor Depressants --------------------------A drug that can slow down, or depress, the central nervous system Stimulants ----------------------------- A drug that can speed up, or stimulate, the central nervous system Hallucinogens ------------------------ Unpredictable mind-altering drugs that can alter personality and cause panic or terror because they distort a person’s sense of direction, distance, and time. Marijuana ------------------------------Powerful mind-altering drug Is a hallucinogen Synergistic Effect --------------------When other drugs are combined with alcohol 15.3 Traffic Laws Governing the Use of Alcohol DWI – Driving While Intoxicated Past BAC level was 0.10% Currently BAC level is 0.08% o Lowered to .08 because drivers are significantly impaired. DUI – Driving Under the Influence BAC level is 0.05% or more Zero Tolerance Difference between DWI and DUI is that a DWI is only alcohol and a DUI can be drugs or alcohol. Illegal for people under age 21 to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in the blood. Illegal Transporation Having alcohol in passenger part of car Implied Consent Law Means that anyone who receives a driver’s license automatically consents to be tested for BAC if pulled over. If you do not cooperate, you can lose license for 6 months Tests for Intoxication: Field of Sobriety Testing – on the spot, roadside tests that help and officer detect driver impairment Physical and mental testing – Balance, coordination, the ability to follow simple instructions and the ability to perform two tasks at once may be tested Nystagmus – involuntary jerking of the eyes as the person gazes to the side Ways to get home safe after you have been drinking without driving: Designated driver Taxi Walk Call home Wait it out Call a friend Stay where you are 15.4 Coping with Peer Pressure Don’t be afraid to stand up and say no. If people don’t respect you for saying no, then those are probably not people that you want to be hanging out with anyway.