As much as the authors of the blog posts on this website like to help others, we all would prefer that no one ever need to be arrested. We want to remind everyone to act, drive and drink responsibly—especially during the holiday season. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 13,000 deaths occur annually due to drunk-driving crashes. The NHTSA reports a rise in drunk-driving deaths around the Christmas and New Year holiday periods, as new data shows deaths from drunk driving in December are at the highest rate in nearly 15 years. NHTSA’s goal is to educate people on the effects, dangers, and consequences of driving drunk.
Accordingly, NHTSA directs a national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign that runs from December 13 to January 1. As a result of NHTSA’s efforts, an increased number of law enforcement officers will be on the roads throughout the campaign to keep drivers safe during this time of increased risk. The campaign also provide important information that driving impairment increases in direct correlation with blood alcohol levels. On the campaign’s website, a correlation is shown in the following table:
Blood Alcohol Concentration (%) followed by Predictable Effects on Driving
.02 Decline in visual functions, decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time
.05 Reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, reduced response to emergency driving situations
.08 Reduced concentration, short-term memory loss, lack of speed control, reduced information processing capability, impaired perception
.10 Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately
.15 Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing
The author of this blog post does not necessarily agree with the NHTSA table shown above due, in large part, to the fact that it does not account for one’s individual tolerance of alcohol. Nonetheless, all drivers should be aware of these inevitable effects of alcohol consumption on driving.
Of equal importance should be the driver’s decision to avoid taking any medication (even if prescribed by a physician) or other drugs, that may affect one’s ability to maintain full awareness and control over a motor vehicle. In Tennessee, for instance, one may be convicted of DUI, even if under the influence of prescribed or over-the-counter medication.
About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,500 DUI defendants. Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be Board Certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD). Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve has served as Dean of the NCDD and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee.
He is the author of DUI: The Crime & Consequences in Tennessee, updated annually since 1991 (Thomson-West), and co-author with Lawrence Taylor of the national treatise, Drunk Driving Defense, 9th edition (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen). Steve has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Law School since 1993 and has received a number of prestigious awards for his faculty contributions. He is a popular international speaker, having spoken at legal seminars in 30 states, the District of Columbia and seven foreign countries. After being named a Fulbright Scholar, Steve was honored to teach as a Visiting Professor at the University of Latvia Law School in the capital city of Riga, Latvia during the Spring Semester of 2019. During the Spring Semester of 2023, Steve taught as a Visiting Professor at Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Law in Budapest, Hungary. If you would like to contact the author, please visit his website at www.tndui.com.