With the summer season upon us, enjoying cocktails on a patio, porch, or boat is definitely a fan favorite for Clevelanders. In this day and age it is critical that you know your limits not only for social purposes but when it comes to driving!
The legal blood alcohol limit when operating a vehicle varies by state, but in the state of Ohio, it is illegal to drive with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 or above (Driving Laws). Of course, the percentage of alcohol in a chosen drink will affect how quickly a person becomes impaired, and a different person may be affected differently by alcohol than the friends sitting right next to them. This is because everybody’s bodies metabolize alcohol differently. Therefore, a regular bodybuilder with a fast metabolism may have the same amount of drinks as someone with a slow metabolism and have a much lower BAC. The only thing that lowers BAC is time, even though there is a common myth that coffee or sleep will help sober a person up.
You may think that you’re fine to drive. You feel okay, right? You’re walking and talking fine with no problem. But your BAC may be higher
than you think, and if you just stopped drinking, it’s only going to get higher. So what are the penalties of driving under the influence in the state of Ohio? The legal penalty is dependent on how many times an individual has been arrested for a DUI, but for a first-time offender, the penalty can be 3 days to 6 months in jail, $250-$1000 fines, and license suspension of 6 months to 3 years. For offenders who have been caught driving under the influence as many as 4 times, penalties include up to 1 year in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, 3 years to permanent license suspension, and a required Interlock Ignition Device. The penalties that have nothing to do with the law? The second you get behind the wheel of a car after having drank over the legal limit, you are putting yourself and everyone else on the road, riding their bikes, or out walking in danger. Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash, and on average two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. According to madd, “every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.” In 2014, 9,967 people died in drunk driving crashes, and 290,000 were injured.
How do I know my BAC, and what are my other options?
Companies with the safety of the public in mind have started producing inexpensive breathalyzers that individuals can purchase to check their BAC before driving. These can be attached to keychains or kept in purses so that they’re always available, and they can tell you whether your BAC is safe to drive. Of course, even if your BAC is lower than the legal limit, if you do not feel like you can adequately operate a vehicle at the time, please consider other options regardless of what the BAC says.
If there is nobody in your group who did not drink who can drive (we always recommend determining a designated driver beforehand or setting up transportation before drinking). You could always call a friend or family member to come pick you up, but if nobody is available, Uber is a company that fairly recently started getting popular (you’ve probably heard of it) that offers easy transportation. People apply and get hired to drive their own personal vehicles to get people from Point A to Point B, which is usually less expensive and more accessible than a taxi, depending on the area in which you’re trying to travel and the time of travel. They offer login on their website or app to make for easy transportation set-up, and all you have to do is login, set up your transportation, wait for your driver, and pay when you get to your destination. It’s a safe and efficient way to avoid driving drunk, and it’s much more affordable than a DUI! Another option, of course, is a traditional taxi, and you can find taxis in your area simply by asking the bartender or Googling it.
For more information on options to avoid drunk driving, drunk driving in general, or blood alcohol content, contact us, and we’ll send you in the right direction. Enjoy your drinks responsibly, and be safe!