Drunk Driving / Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to the practice of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, including drugs prescribed by a physician. South Carolina law prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. A driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher is assumed to be under the influence of alcohol. BAC or blood alcohol content refers to the concentration of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. A person with a BAC less than .08% but at least 0% may also be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol if other evidence supports a conclusion that the person was materially and appreciably impaired. Alcohol is a factor in a large number of accidents in South Carolina. More than 43% of total traffic fatalities involve drivers with BACs of .08% or more. It is not known how many fatalities in South Carolina involve drinking that is not above the legal limit.
Even if a driver has a BAC below the legal limit, he nevertheless may have acted negligently by choosing to drive. In addition, drivers who test above .09% BAC are more likely than other drivers to have other drugs in their systems. The Law Offices of Richard A. Hricik is experienced in representing individuals who have been injured in accidents caused by impaired drivers or whose loved ones have been killed in such accidents. Being involved in a crash can be a dizzying cycle of hospital and doctor visits, bills, and missed work.
The Role of Alcohol in Causing Crashes
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it depresses or slows down the function of the central nervous system. Alcohol affects the brain, slowing down and impairing information processing, as well as hand-eye coordination, impairing fine motor skills. Because the brain is affected, someone who has consumed alcohol perceives the outside world through a distorted lens and is unable to judge for himself whether he can engage in certain activities safely. For example, a drunk driver may perceive that he is driving at a normal speed, when in fact he is driving significantly below or above the posted speed limit. The more alcohol someone has consumed, the more impaired their judgment will become.
The Role of Other Drugs in Causing Crashes
Other drugs that play a role causing crashes include marijuana and some over-the-counter medications. What all of these drugs share in common is that they may adversely affect perception, judgment, reaction time, and/or motor skills. For example, studies have shown that THC, the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana, affects a driver’s judgment, attentiveness, and perception of time and speed.