Drinking and Driving in Palmer, Alaska: What’s the big risk?
Drunken driving causes accidents. Drunken driving causes injuries and even death. That’s why drunken driving is illegal and if you’re caught driving under the influence of alcohol in Palmer, you will more than likely receive a DUI.
Everyone knows that drinking and driving is dangerous, that alcohol impairs your ability to think and react behind the wheel. Yet, most people are under the impression that the legal limit of alcohol in the system (.08) is where the impairment begins. Although that is the limit at which one can be arrested for a DUI, studies have shown that impairment starts after the first few sips.
Palmer, Alaska is a place flanked with beautiful scenery. The mountain peaks that surround the Matansuska Valley have provided breathtaking views to residents and visitors alike for many years. Located only 42 miles from Anchorage, Palmer is a frequently visited area of Alaska and the Glenn Highway that runs through the small city is often bustling with vehicles.
Over the years, Palmer has grown from a primarily rural town to a bursting community. Thousands of people moved to Palmer to experience the peaceful and safe way of life and now there are 5,343 residents working and living in the 5.2 square mile community.
Such a population increase has come with plenty of benefits, including a more lively and active community. More cars also come with more people, and the chance of an accident increases with more cars. More people, more activity, more cars: it’s a recipe for driving under the influence, and unfortunately, the detrimental drunk driving accidents that can happen as a result.
If you and your friends, or family, decide to have a few drinks at the Palmer Bar on a Friday night, you might choose a designated driver. Having a designated driver is a sure-fire way to prevent drunken driving accidents. But, what if the driver decides to have a beer or two? This may seem harmless, and the driver may seem (and feel) perfectly ok to drive. Unfortunately, he or she may not be.
According to research findings described in an ABC news article, even small traces of alcohol are proven to greatly increase the chances of getting in an accident that causes serious injuries or fatalities. Researchers at the University of California in San Diego conducted a study on nearly 1.5 million fatal accidents, which indicated that as miniscule as .01 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is enough to increase the chances of an accident.
For many average sized adults, that amount is less than half a beer. According to the article, researchers were as startled by this finding as your probably are right now. Only a few sips of beer can cause a deadly accident? But, the results did not lie.
The researchers discovered that people with such low levels of alcohol in their system were, in fact, behaving differently than drivers who were completely sober. Their research was based on fatal car accidents from 1994 through 2008, and is the first study to use evidence from all U.S. counties. The study was comprehensive, to say the least.
It’s important to keep in mind that the United States has an alcohol limit for driving that is much higher than other countries. Countries such as Brazil and Russia have zero tolerance. Sweden, China, and Puerto Rico set the limit at .02 percent BAC and most other countries set the limit between .03 percent and .05 percent.
Researchers claimed that these findings are conclusive enough to warrant a reduction of our own BAC limit. The research revealed that accidents are 36.6 percent more hazardous when alcohol is barely detectable in the driver’s blood. Why?
Here are a few of the specific findings of the research:
- BAC correlates strongly with how fast the vehicle is travelling at the time of the accident. Even at .01 percent BAC, a driver is likely to drive faster and the likelihood just increases from there.
- The greater the driver’s alcohol level, from .01 BAC and up, the greater the chance that he or she will not use a seatbelt or not use it the right way.
- The greater the concentration, the greater the chance that the driver will run in to another car.
All this findings may seem painfully obvious, but what is important is that they showed up across the board, from .01 percent BAC to the legal limit of .08 and above. This means that, no, your designated driver cannot get away with one or two beers and still be completely safe to drive.
In Alaska, the consequences for drinking and driving are relatively severe even for first offenders. First offenders can receive a minimum of 3 days in jail, 90 days without a license, and a $1,500 if they are convicted of driving under the influence.
When an impaired driver causes an accident, resulting in an injury or fatality, these consequences expand beyond the driver. Anyone who has been injured by the negligent actions of an impaired driver is likely facing overwhelming challenges physically and financially.
If you live in Palmer and were injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you’re now paying for costly medical bills, or you might be out of work until you fully recover. That’s not to mention the possible physical pain and limitations caused by the injury. Healing from a car accident injury is a difficult process, especially if you believe a driver who was under the influence of alcohol caused the accident.
On top of all your financial and physical stress, you may be wondering how to he or she was impaired and how to get justice for your injuries. The car accident attorneys at Kelley & Canterbury, L.L.C. have experience with accident involving drunk drivers and can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If a drunk driver has injured you don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to find out how they can help you. And, if you’re going out with friends anytime soon, keep in mind how little alcohol it takes to impair your, and everyone else’s, driving ability and judgment. Stay safe on the Palmer!