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Before you drink and drive, learn how alcohol affects the body

It is illegal to drive anywhere in the U.S. with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or more in your system. Alcohol is a factor in about one-third of all car crash fatalities, but people still drink and drive.

You may think it is perfectly fine to drive after having a couple of beers, but before you get behind the wheel, here are some facts to consider about how your system is reacting to that alcohol.

Absorbing alcohol

You absorb alcohol through the walls of your small intestine as well as your stomach. It then enters the bloodstream where it waits to be metabolized by your liver. The blood alcohol concentration level is a measurement of the weight of alcohol in a certain amount of your blood.

Dangerous levels

Although a BAC of 0.08 percent is the legal limit for drivers 21 years of age or older, even a small amount of alcohol is dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures show that in 2016, 2,017 people died in vehicle crashes in which drivers had BAC levels that were beneath the legal limit, in some cases as low as 0.01 percent.

Common effects

Even at a BAC of 0.02 percent, both your judgment and your visual function are impaired to some extent. At 0.05 percent, you will not be able to focus well, your judgment will suffer further impairment, your coordination will have deteriorated and you will have trouble steering the vehicle. When your BAC level gets to 0.08 percent, you invite several issues, which will occur simultaneously: poor muscle coordination, balance, vision, speech and reaction time. You will not be able to reason properly, your concentration will be short lived and you will find it difficult to spot a dangerous situation.

Consequences

There are both criminal and administrative penalties for a DUI conviction in Kentucky, and they are severe. They include license suspension, fines, alcohol counseling, community service and the possibility of jail time. Once you understand how little alcohol it takes to make you an unsafe driver, perhaps you will think twice about whether you are really ready to hit the road.

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