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Facts and fiction about drinking and driving

Alcohol consumption and driving cause many deaths in the United States every year. The number is constantly increasing. Drivers are often acting irresponsible as they usually think that just a few drinks won’t make them unable to control the vehicle, or they have a cup of coffee after the drinks in order to sober up.

Myths about alcohol

The most common prejudice is that some drinks are “lighter” than others. Actually, there the same quantity of alcohol in a glass of wine, white or red, a shot of whiskey, vodka, tequila or other drink, and a bottle of beer.

Another falsehood is that a cup of strong black coffee helps to sober up faster. Movies and television frequently promote this myth. Scientifically speaking, alcohol leaves the body at a rate of .015 percent of blood alcohol content an hour. For example, if blood alcohol content is .30, it will take 20 hours before a person completely sobers up. This rule works for every person the same, despite genetic differences and there are no means to affect this process and speed it up.

Women have more fat than men and that is why they often become affected by alcohol more quickly. Menstruation and other hormonal changes may also affect the process of alcohol absorption. Men’s bodies have one more advantage – a higher concentration of the enzyme dehydrogenase that breaks down alcohol in the body.

Responsible behavior

Many people lose their lives because drunken drivers wrongly believe they are sober enough to control a vehicle. It takes much time before alcohol leaves the body and there is nothing one can do to speed up this process. Responsible drivers should avoid drinking or call a friend, have a designated driver or a taxi if under the influence of alcohol.

Statistics

Every half an hour one person loses their life because of a drunken driver. The popular media claims that about 50 percents of all traffic accidents are caused by the people under the influence of alcohol. National Motorists Association however, reports a percentage around 10%. The popular media often misuses the term "alcohol-related incident". This term refers to any traffic fatality in which someone who is involved has a measurable amount of alcohol in the body. The term equally applies even to those who are not physically or mentally impaired by alcohol in anyway. It even applies to the innocent pedestrians or persons who didn’t cause the accident.

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