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What drivers are most at risk for DUI?

Once you have reached driving age and have completed all requirements in your state, you are given a license and awarded the privilege to drive. With this freedom and mobility comes a great responsibility. While there are several groups at risk, young drivers are among the highest at risk for a DUI. Irresponsible driving, including DUI, can lead to property damage, injuries and death.

How does age affect driving accidents?

Were you aware that 15-20 year olds are in the group that has the highest risk for a fatal crash? Seventy-percent of all fatalities in this age group involve alcohol. Young drivers lack experience in driving and can often be dangerous when they are driving sober. When you add alcohol to the mix, the combination is dangerous and too often fatal. It is important to remember that the consumption of alcohol by this group is illegal. According to a recent study, each .02% increase in BAC places 15-20 year-old drivers at greater risk for an accident than drivers who are 21 or older. While there are fewer 15-20 year-old alcohol-impaired drivers on the road, their accident rates are much higher than those of other age groups. Young people’s driving inexperience makes them ill-equipped to handle dangerous driving situations. This, combined with other risky behavior like speeding and drinking alcohol, contributes to the highest accident rate among young drivers.

How does gender affect driving accidents?

Of those involved in fatal automobile accidents, twenty-nine percent were male drivers who had a BAC of at least .01% compared with fifteen percent of female drivers. However, with a BAC ranging from .05 to .09 percent, accident risks are increased for women. This could be due in part to the fact that women metabolize alcohol differently than men, causing women to have a higher BAC when they have consumed the same amount of alcohol. Researchers are unsure why women’s driving skills seem to deteriorate at a higher rate than men when their BAC is in the higher range.

Risks of Combining Alcohol and Medications

When a driver combines alcohol and certain medications, his risk of an accident is greatly increased. Some medications on their own, like sedatives and tranquilizers, can impair driving abilities. The effects of these drugs are multiplied with even a modest amount of alcohol. Drivers’ ability to steer their automobile can be greatly diminished. Driving skills can also be affected by other drugs, like codeine, which is used to treat various degrees of pain. Other medications that affect drivers’ abilities are anti-depressants, anti-psychotic drugs, and even the common antihistamine. The safest course of action is to not drive if you have taken medications or have been drinking any amount of alcohol. Young people need to be aware that their inexperience could make it difficult for them to handle hazards.