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Even One Drink Increases Motor Vehicle Accident Risks

Between the efforts of law enforcement agencies and public service campaigns, most of us are aware of the dangers of drunk driving. What you may not realize is that even if you are below the legal blood alcohol content limit, it could still increase your risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. The following outlines the real impact alcohol has on your driving abilities, and emphasizes why refraining from driving after drinking any amount is a smart idea.

The Real Impact of Alcohol  

Under the Oregon Revised Code, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) while operating a motor vehicle is 0.08 percent. Depending on your gender, weight, and other factors, this generally amounts to consuming an average of two or more drinks over the course of an hour.

Even if you do not consume this amount, it could still impact your driving abilities enough to put you and others on the road in danger. One drink is equal to roughly a 1.25-ounce shot, a 12-ounce beer, or a five-ounce glass of wine.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that drivers may experience the following impacts based on their BAC:

  • At an estimated BAC of .02 percent, you may be feeling warm and relaxed, but you are already experiencing slight impairments in your judgement. Your ability to track moving objects is affected, and you may have difficulty performing two tasks, such as driving and talking to passengers, at the same time.
  • At an estimated BAC of .05 percent, your inhibitions are lowered and your behaviors are more exaggerated. Behind the wheel, your movements and actions are less coordinated, and you are less likely to be able to respond quickly to emergency situations.
  • At 0.08 percent BAC, your judgement, concentration, and memory are impaired, and you are more likely to engage in speeding and other reckless driving behaviors, without considering the consequences.
  • At a BAC of .10, which is over the legal limit, you are likely experiencing slurred speech and a serious lack of coordination. While driving, you will have trouble staying in your own lane, while your movements in regards to steering and braking are clumsy and delayed.
  • At a BAC of .15 or more, which is nearly twice the legal limit, you are in immediate danger of harming yourself and others on the road. Impaired vision, comprehension, and coordination all put you at high risk for potentially fatal motor vehicle accidents.

Have You Been Injured by a Drunk Driver? Contact a Portland Accident Attorney

Those who consume any amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel put themselves and others at risk. If you suspect alcohol played a role in your motor vehicle accident, call or contact the Johnston Law Firm. Our Portland motor vehicle accident attorney can help you hold these drivers accountable, so you can get the compensation you need to recover.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.