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How Are Drunk Drivers Affected by the Alcohol?

By Weston Personal Injury Attorney on February 10, 2024

A mans hands on the top of a bar holding a drink and a car key.

Drunk driving kills. There’s no excuse for an intoxicated person to get behind the wheel of a car. Alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment, perceptions, physical ability, and cognitive processes. That’s why drunk drivers are a threat to everyone on the road, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycle riders, other drivers, and their passengers.

The State of Florida has taken strong measures to get drunk drivers off the road, including public safety campaigns, harsh DUI penalties, and strict enforcement of DUI laws by State and local enforcement agencies.

Harsh Penalties for Drunk Driving in Florida

According to Florida’s illegal per se law, any driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit may be charged with drunk driving. The BAC limit is 0.08% percent for drivers who are over 21, 0.04% for drivers who require a CDL license to operate vehicles such as trucks and buses that weigh over 26,000 pounds, and 0.02% for drivers below the legal drinking age of 21.

Florida has enacted serious penalties to discourage drunk driving. Anyone convicted of a DUI faces heavy fines, jail time, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol school. There are several factors that allow judges to enhance these penalties, including crashes that cause injuries and fatalities, repeated offenses, and having a minor inside the vehicle.

Alcohol Impairs Physical, Mental, and Cognitive Abilities

It takes a steady hand, constant attention, and good coordination to safely operate a motor vehicle. In the hands of a drunk driver, a car becomes a dangerous weapon. An intoxicated driver is incapable of driving safely because the necessary skills are diminished by alcohol:

  • Judgment. People don’t make good decisions when they’ve been drinking. Inebriated drivers are more likely to drive too fast and disobey traffic laws. That’s why it’s so important for people to make alternative arrangements before they start drinking, like choosing a designated driver, calling a taxi, or using a rideshare service.
  • Coordination. Operating a heavy piece of machinery requires the driver’s feet, hands, arms, and legs to work together in a fluid manner. As the driver’s coordination diminishes, their motions become jerky, leading to dangerous maneuvers such as unsafe turns and lane changes.
  • Visual perception. Alcohol impairs vision and depth perception. It also makes it more difficult to track moving objects and predict their path. As drivers grow more intoxicated, their vision becomes blurred, potentially causing them to experience double vision and making it impossible to distinguish cars and other objects on the road.
  • Drowsiness. Alcohol is a depressant that has a sedative effect on drivers who may not even realize when they are becoming drowsy. This impairs the driver’s senses, and it may even cause them to fall asleep at the wheel.
  • Cognitive ability. Drinking reduces comprehension, making it more difficult to interpret road signs, traffic signals, and changing circumstances. This causes the intoxicated driver to become confused and incapable of making the right decision in an emergency situation.
  • Reaction time. Drivers must be prepared to respond to current road conditions, changes in traffic flow, and vehicles that stop suddenly in front of them, but reaction time becomes lower and lower as intoxication increases.

Were You Injured by a Drunk Driver?

Your Drunk Driving Accident Attorney will file a claim with your Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) carrier to help you get the money you need to cover the expenses caused by the crash, including medical bills, lost wages, and physical therapy.

The Weston Personal Injury Lawyers at Justin Morgan Law will also seek damages against anyone who committed a negligent act that caused your injuries, and this includes drunk drivers. We will investigate your case by interviewing witnesses, examining physical evidence, reviewing the police report, and collecting dashcam and surveillance camera video.

When our investigation is complete, Justin Morgan Law may file a claim or a lawsuit against any of the following parties to maximize your payout:

  • Drunk drivers
  • Companies that hire unsafe drivers
  • Contractors responsible for dangerous road conditions
  • Manufacturers of defective automobiles and parts
  • Bars and restaurants that serve underage drivers
  • Bars and restaurants that knowingly serve a person who is habitually addicted to alcohol

“Justin and his team go above and beyond for their clients, always on top of every detail. After an awful accident they made sure I had everything taken car of, from car rental to doctor appointments. Very grateful to have found them during this time.”
- Nicolas Jaime