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How does alcohol affect the body?

Drunk driving accidents can cause serious injuries, permanent disabilities, pain and suffering and fatalities. It can fracture a family emotionally, but it can also cause significant financial problems when wages are gone after a family member's loss or long recovery. These accidents are completely preventable, which is what makes them so tragic.

Alcohol affects everyone differently, depending on a number of factors. A person's blood alcohol concentration level includes factors such as person's gender, weight and tolerance level. In addition, how quickly alcohol is absorbed into the body can depend on whether a person has eaten recently. Here are some typical and predicable effects of alcohol. The number of drinks listed is what a 160-lb man would need to consume in an hour to reach the given BAC.

-- 2 drinks: The man would experience some loss of judgement and a decline in his ability to rapidly track a moving object. He also wold have a harder time doing two tasks at once. His BAC would be about .02 percent.

-- 3 drinks: The man's coordination would be reduced and he would have difficulty steering, impaired judgment, and a lowered level of alertness. He would experience a slower response when it came to driving in emergency situations. His BAC would be about .05 percent.

-- 4 drinks: The man would have difficulties with concentration, short-term memory and controlling his speed. His memory, self-control and judge would be impaired, as would his perception. His BAC would be about .08 percent or the legal limit of intoxication in all statees.

-- 5 drinks: The man would have slower thinking, poor coordination and slurred speech. His reaction time, control and ability to brake properly would be impaired. His BAC would be about .10 percent.

-- 7 drinks: The man may vomit, experience a significant loss in balance, impairment in processing auditory and visual information and vehicle control. His BAC would be about .15 percent -- almost twice the legal limit of intoxication.

Many people drink and drive because they feel they are not affected by alcohol as everyone else is. For victims and their families of drunk driving accidents, there is little comfort in hearing, "But I only had a couple of drinks." Those who caused a drunk driving accident need to be held accountable in criminal court and in civil court. An attorney can provide more information on how to proceed.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)," accessed Feb. 02, 2016

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