Impaired Driving
America has more drunk drivers than most countries have people.
“Most of you have read about underage drinking tragedies. Many of you may know people who have been killed or injured as a result of impaired driving. Some of you might have even been involved in crashes yourselves. At the very least, you know about parties that have left your friends with hangovers, embarrassing memories and in trouble with their parents, friends or law enforcement. Whether you believe the problems of underage drinking and impaired driving pertains to you, the fact is these problems affect everyone.” -
We’ve all heard the message. We all know that driving while drunk is bad. Yet, somehow, the problem still persists. In Mississippi in 2012, drunk driving fatalities represented 31% of total traffic deaths.
  • Always designate a sober driver.
  • Never ride with someone who’s been drinking.

And remember, “impairment” is not specific to drinking and driving. Other types of impairment can include:

  • Illegal drug use
  • Prescription drug use
  • Over-the-counter drug use (such as allergy medication that makes you sleepy)
  • Driving while tired
  • Anything that impairs your judgment is an impairment.

Not Everyone Who Gets Hit By a Drunk Driver Dies

View the story of Jacqui

The following chart contains some of the more common symptoms people exhibit at various BAC levels, and the effects on driving ability:

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Typical Effects Predictable Effects on Driving
  • Some loss of judgment
  • Relaxation
  • Slight Body warmth
  • Altered Mood
  • Decline in visual functions (rapid tracking of a moving target)
  • Decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)
  • Exaggerated Behavior
  • May have loss of small-muscle control (e.g. focusing your eyes)
  • Impaired judgment
  • Usually good feeling
  • Lowered alertness
  • Release of inhibition
  • Reduced coordination
  • Reduced ability to track moving objects
  • Difficulty steering
  • Reduced responses to emergency driving situations
  • Muscle coordination becomes poor (e.g. balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing)
  • Harder to detect danger
  • Judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired
  • Concentration
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Speed control
  • Reduced information processing capability (e.g. signal detection, visual search)
  • Impaired perception
  • Clear deterioration of reaction time and control
  • Slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking
  • Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately
  • Far less muscle control than normal
  • Vomiting may occur (unless this level is reached slowly or a person has developed a tolerance for alcohol)
  • Major loss of balance
  • Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attending to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing

*Information in this table shows the BAC level at which the effect usually is first observed, and has been gathered from a variety of sources including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the American Medical Association, the National Commission Against Drunk Driving, and