Part 2 – Alcohol
In this second of our three-part series focusing on the main causes of road deaths, we look at the role alcohol plays.
We first looked at speed and next time we’ll deal with fatigue.
All states and territories in Australia have the same maximum allowed Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for full licenced drivers of 0.05%. Any more and you risk serious penalties.
It is important to know that everyone responds differently to alcohol, and the way that it affects us, and thus the level of impairment will vary from person to person. Meaning that for some people one drink could put you over the limit.
In plain terms, BAC refers to the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. The higher a BAC, the higher the impairment level. This could mean impairment in vision, trouble interpreting visual signs or feeling drowsy.
At 0.049 (under the legal BAC limit) your ability to see moving lights and your ability to judge distances is still reduced. Combine that with an increased tendency to take risks and its no surprise that alcohol contributes to 25% of our road fatalities.
At just 0.05 drivers are up to 5 times more likely to have a car crash.
Sometimes people gauge their ability to drive after drinking alcohol based on how much they’ve had to drink, what types of alcohol they’ve had to drink and their own “supposed” tolerance levels.
So, it’s good to understand one’s own attitude towards drinking and driving. And should we be thinking: ‘is one drink, one drink too many given all of the risks?’
If we consider that a male driver, with a high range BAC (0.15+), aged 21-34, can be up to 572 times more likely to crash their vehicle. Would that make us re-thing drink driving?
The best advice is if you know that you are going to have a drink, then leave the car at home.
Is that one drink worth the risk?
To find out how you or someone you know can become a safer driver visit our website www.roadsense.org.au and enquire about one of the great programs we have available.