The Summer Holiday Season and Impaired Driving

Business and Professional

June 24, 2015

Did you know that one can of beer, 1 glass of wine or one shot of liquor all contain .54 ounces of alcohol?   Drinking more than one serving of alcohol per hour can quickly place a driver in the risk zone with a blood alcohol level (BAC) that exceeds what authorities determine to be safe for the operation of a motor vehicle.  

Is having one shot as fun (or as satiating) as having a beer or lingering over a glass of wine?  That is part of the problem when it comes to knowing the legal limit and your own individual limit, and it is one of examples of how responsible people find themselves facing a DUI charge in Illinois.

Judging Your Alcohol and Substance Tolerance

The majority of people are pulled over for driving under the influence or while impaired during holiday weekends.  The reason for the increase in the rates of impaired driving are not hard to figure out.  Everyone loves to get together with family or friends to celebrate, and it when you combine good weather, great friends and food and drink you have the perfect circumstance for lapse in judgement.

There are a number of physical reasons while people have a hard time knowing when they have had enough alcohol.   Did you know that dehydration can play a big part in how impaired you become?  The use of illicit drugs can also result in a charge of impaired driving, and one of the misconceptions is that drugs are "safer" to use than alcohol as they are not detected by a breathalyzer.  However, law enforcement can request that you submit to a blood or urine test at the police station and impound your vehicle pending the results of testing.  Both types of tests reveal the use of illicit drugs and controlled substances, such as anti-anxiety medications or other prescription medications.

If you are someone who has always been responsible with safe driving habits, it can become easy to misjudge your own tolerance and impairment.  An empty stomach can impact your level of impairment, as can other factors including interactions with legal prescription medications and specific health conditions.   It is difficult to draw the line at "safe" when the same limit can be impacted by other factors beyond your control.

Would you like to understand more about how your body processes alcohol and what is defined legally as impairment? This infographic demonstrates what is happening inside your body when you get drunk, and provides data about BAC levels for intoxication for men and women by weight and other interesting facts.  Check out "The Science of Getting Drunk: How Alcohol Affects the Body and Brain"

Alternatives for Holiday Transportation

If you are travelling to a family members home, a cottage or camping for a party or get together, make a plan to stay overnight.  Whether that means packing a tent or taking the pull out couch in the living room you can reduce the risk of an impaired driving charge by staying where you play for holiday weekends.   If places to sleep are in short supply, buy an affordable inflatable bed mattress and a pump and pack it in your trunk to provide flexible options in the event that it is unsafe for you to drive home.

Depending on where you are, Uber can be a great and economical transportation resource.  The service tends to be available only in large metropolitan cities (it is not yet available in Joliet, Illinois).  You can use Uber by pre-booking private car service from major events, concerts or even to and from the airport and leave your car at home when you head out for a night on the town.

Travelling with friends or family can be a safer option.  As "old school" as it sounds, the designated driver is still the best way to avoid instances of impaired driving.  If everyone else is drinking, the driver won't be so you will have to be inventive on ways to "make it up to them" by being the designated driver at the next event.

The inconvenience of sharing a ride with friends is far less than the consequences for driving while impaired; legally and in terms of your personal safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.

Understanding the Impaired Driving Law

There are misconceptions about the type of drivers who incur an impaired driving charge.  Typically people expect the majority of drunk driving charges to be issued to young adults between the ages of 16-25.  But according to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, the average DUI offender is male and about 34 years old.

The data also reveals that the majority of arrests for impaired driving in Illinois are made between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. on weekends with drivers sampling an average of twice the illegal limit with a BAC of 0.16.  An excellent resource for drivers in Joliet, Illinois is the "DUI Fact Book 2015" by Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White.

A skilled dui attorney joliet can provide guidance and represent circumstances and other key factors that can help reduce your fine or prison time for impaired driving offences.   Repeat DUI offences can be viewed as felony offences or even reckless homicide charges in the state of Illinois, and may carry a sentence of 3 to 7 years or more.

Make the right choice when it comes to driving safely and enjoying your holiday weekend this summer.

About Author

Jeff Tomczak is an experienced criminal defense and personal injury attorney at The Tomczak Law Group. As the founder of the firm and a lawyer by profession, he has years of experience in handling the most serious and high-profile personal injury, accident and criminal cases since the last 25 years. He is dedicated in his work of representing victims and strives for availing significant compensation for his clients.

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