Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It slows down your brain activity which affects your speech, fine motor skills, reaction time and most importantly your decision making skills, all prerequisites for safe driving.
Alcohol can also impair your vision and hearing along with your memory. Consuming alcohol prior to driving significantly increases the risk of car accidents, highway injuries and vehicular deaths. The greater the amount of alcohol consumed, the more likely the person is to be involved in an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 32 percent of fatal car crashes involve an intoxicated driver or pedestrian. In 2012, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – one every 51 minutes.
We see the terrible results of impaired drivers taking the lives of others far too often. Oklahomans saw firsthand the effects of impaired driving this past New Year’s Eve when a man traveling on the Kilpatrick Turnpike rear ended a family’s SUV, killing two people. Troopers clocked the man, with no headlights on, traveling 116 mph seconds before the crash. The driver was subsequently arrested for DUI.
Payne County has also seen its fair share of DUI related crashes. In October of 2014, after the OSU Homecoming Walk Around, a Stillwater man who had been drinking, crossed the center line of SH 51 east of Stillwater and struck an oncoming vehicle head on. A young mother and her 5-year-old daughter were killed. The driver was subsequently arrested for DUI.
Most recently, Feb. 5 of this year, an OSU student was killed in a one-vehicle accident on SH 51 west of Stillwater when his vehicle departed the roadway before overturning and striking a tree. The driver’s blood alcohol content was over two times the legal limit.