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Post by Inbō Sake on Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:27 pm

Factors related to alcohol absorption to remember include:

70%-80% of alcohol is absorbed through the small intestine and not the stomach.
Food does slow down absorption.
Strong emotions usually speed up absorption.
If a man and woman of equal weight drink the same beverage, the woman's BAL will be higher.
Different beverages may be absorbed at slightly different rates and carbonation speeds up alcohol absorption into the bloodstream.
The faster alcohol is consumed, the faster it reaches the bloodstream.
The larger the drink, the more effect it will have.
Drinking fast achieves a faster and greater effect.

A large person has more fluid in their body than a small person. Therefore, if a large person drinks the same as a small person in the same amount of time, the small person will have a higher BAL
Average individuals will eliminate alcohol from their bodies at the rate of approximately .015 BAL per hour. When a person stops drinking, the BAL will continue to rise for some time. After a late night of drinking, it is very possible that a person will still be impaired in the morning when driving to work.

Drugs enter the bloodstream and affect the body at different rates depending on the type of drug and how it enters the system. When a substance is shot straight into a blood vessel by intravenous injection, it enters the bloodstream instantly. Smoking transfers substances to the brain faster than when a drug is injected or swallowed. The higher the percentage of the active ingredient in a drug, the more quickly it will usually reach the bloodstream. Drugs are eliminated by being metabolized or excreted. Rates vary greatly depending upon the type of drug involved and medical condition of the person.

The introduction of alcohol and other drugs to the system impacts almost every critical function you need to be alert, see clearly, and be responsive.

You get about 90% of the information you need to drive safely from your eyes. Alcohol and drugs affect the field of view, ability to see color, and visual acuity. They also affect the supply of oxygen to the bloodstream and can damage the liver, stomach, pancreas, heart, and result in brain disorders.
Short-term effects of alcohol and other drugs include:

Altered perception
Impact on our emotions
Disrupted sleep
Decreased motor ability
Impact on the heart
Hangover

Altered Perception - Perception is what gives meaning to our senses. Alcohol impairs vision and hearing as well as the other senses. Time may appear to pass more rapidly and pain sensation may be masked because senses are dulled.

Emotions - Emotions involve feelings (anger, fear, excitement, etc.). Risk-taking of all types is enhanced and inhibitions are reduced. Aggression is more likely.

Sleep - Depressant effect may bring on sleep, but agitation effect may cause a person to wake up (especially with long-term use).

Motor ability - Speech, walking, and other motor tasks are impaired.

Heart - Heart rate and blood pressure are elevated. While moderate amounts of alcohol (1-2 drinks per day) have been shown to produce possible heart benefits, heavy drinking can contribute to heart disease.

Hangover - Headache, thirst, nausea, fatigue, and anxiety are symptoms of a hangover. High BAL and drinks with congeners tend to produce hangovers. Congeners result as the natural process of fermentation and distillation. These add the smell, taste, and color to beverages. Wine is an example of a beverage high in congeners while vodka is low in congeners. Basically, hangovers are the body’s adverse reaction to introducing an excessive amount of a toxic substance into the system.

Too much alcohol consumed too fast exceeds the liver’s capacity to process the alcohol through the body systems. Consequently, the high is prolonged, but the letdown, when it comes, is also protracted and most unpleasant. Hangover is a “mini-withdrawal” from alcohol. This leads to rebound headache, upset stomach, early-morning awakening, tremors, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Alcohol first affects the brain’s higher learning center. This is the area which most affects the driving task, as driving involves a great deal of complex decision-making.

The sequence of brain growth progresses from vital functions to muscle control to higher learning center. Alcohol impairs the higher learning center first, muscle control center second, and vital functions third.

Higher learning involves such areas as judgment, reasoning, decision-making, and inhibitions. Judgment is the first ability affected by alcohol. This is particularly damaging to the driver, as driving is primarily a higher learning (judgment) task.

When an individual has consumed alcohol, the higher learning center is influenced and the ability to process information is impaired (dependent upon the amount of alcohol consumed). In this condition, the driver retains certain physical abilities, but the level of self-control normally exhibited may be adversely affected to some degree and complex reaction time is slowed.

Because alcohol affects the part of the brain which allows persons to think clearly, the person may not recognize impairment and actually feel he/she is performing better. As drinking continues, speech and muscular control tend to diminish. If drinking continues at immoderate levels, an individual runs the risk of losing consciousness and, in extreme circumstances, losing vital functions and possibly dying. This could be the result of alcohol severely affecting respiration as well as cardiac function.
Visual Acuity

The retina in the back of the eyeball is made up of millions of rods and cones, each connected by a nerve fiber which runs to the brain. Nerve (neural) impulses are sent to the brain along these nerve fibers to transmit the picture focused on the retina. The retina is like film in a camera. The cones can transmit color while the rods transmit only dark and light.

Sharpness of vision (acuity) is greatest in the center of the retina (where most light rays are focused) where the cones are most dense. Details such as traffic signs can be seen in this area.

Alcohol, or any other drug which reduces the supply of oxygen in the bloodstream, can impair the sensitivity of the cones which, in turn, reduces the visual acuity or sharpness.

At low levels of illumination, most of the seeing is accomplished by the rods with some help from the cones. This is why visual acuity is reduced more than one-half at nighttime.

For example, a person with 20/40 daytime acuity may have only 20/100 vision at night, even less under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Again, if there is a lack of oxygen, sensitivity is reduced.


Night Vision

2205b_night_blurred_.jpg Vision at night does not involve so much the seeing of small details as the detection of objects on the field of view. At normal nighttime illumination, this involves the use of both the rods and cones.

Many factors affect the ability to see at night, one of these being alcohol. At night there is little to stimulate the rods and cones. Anything which decreases their sensitivity makes seeing more difficult. In order to see clearly, the right amount of light must reach the retina. This is controlled by the pupil which acts like a camera shutter. The opaque iris (colored portion of the eye) closes the pupil opening (black area) so that in bright light the size of the pupil is reduced to limit the amount of light entering the eye and, thus, protect the retina.

At night, the pupil is enlarged to allow the maximum amount of light to enter. Normally, it takes one second for the pupil to constrict and respond to the glare of oncoming headlights. It takes seven seconds after exposure to headlight glare for the pupil to adapt once again to dark conditions. This recovery action is slowed by alcohol.


Eye Focus
2205_blur_vision.jpg
To obtain a clear picture, the rays of light must be focused on the retina in the back of the eyeball. This is accomplished by means of the eye’s lens which has a muscle which brings subjects into focus. If this muscle is relaxed by alcohol, then a distortion of light rays appears on the retina. In turn, an interference in the impulses sent to the brain results in a faulty or fuzzy picture of the traffic scene.
Peripheral (Side) Vision

While looking straight ahead, you can notice objects at the side even though you cannot see them clearly. This ability is most important when going through intersections or past parked cars where pedestrians may suddenly step out.

A BAL of .055 can reduce the field of vision by 30%. A reduction of the visual field makes it more difficult to see potential hazards on either side.

Speed also has an adverse effect on the field of vision. Most drivers fail to realize that at 30 mph a driver has reduced his side vision by 25%. At 45 mph he has reduced his side vision by 50%. And at speeds over 60 mph he is literally driving down a “vision tunnel."

When you add the effects of alcohol to the decrease in field of vision caused by speed, a driver’s field of vision is greatly reduced.

2206b_injection.jpg
Color Distinction

The cones in the retina make it possible to distinguish between red and green. This is important, especially when approaching traffic signals. When the sensitivity of these cones is decreased by alcohol, it becomes more difficult to distinguish colors. Also, if visual acuity is affected, images will be blurred and two colors next to each other may appear as a blur.


Distance Judgment

Our ability to move from one lane to another determines whether a car is approaching or moving away from us, and passing another car as well as parking, is dependent upon the ability to judge distances. This is accomplished largely as a result of the brain’s receiving two slightly different images from the two eyes. Since the two eyes are separated, the two pictures are slightly different. This process can be compared to the way a camera works. If there is sufficient alcohol in the blood to prevent the two eyes from working together, then the results are a double image or suppression of one image. 2206c_30_secs_ahead.jpg

In either case, the ability to judge distance will be greatly reduced. Try judging distance with one eye closed by having a friend hold a pencil in a vertical position. Now try to touch the end of the pencil by bringing the index finger down towards the pencil. Note how difficult it is to judge distance when using only one eye.

Research indicates that a blood alcohol level of .12 reduces the distance a pedestrian can be seen by a driver by about 20%. In many cases this is enough to make the visibility distance much less than the stopping distance.


Double Vision

The best vision is obtained when the two eyes work together. To do this, both eyes must be looking at the same spot at the same time - directed to the same point in space. This is accomplished by six muscles attached to each eye which automatically point the eye to the object to be seen. When these muscles are relaxed by fatigue, drugs, or alcohol, the two eyes may not be focused on the same point. The result is double vision. 2206d_double_vision.jpg

In this case, the brain can do one of two things. If one image is weaker, the brain may ignore (or suppress) that image. In this case, only one eye will be used - causing poor depth perception and peripheral vision. On the other hand, if both images are seen and interpreted by the brain, the brain will see a double image. A driver may see two cars approaching or two sets of headlights and not know which one to avoid and which to ignore.

For some people, alcohol can cause an uncontrolled rapid oscillation (or vibration) of the eyeballs, making good vision almost impossible. With properly coordinated eyes, driving ability is improved, since the two images tend to reinforce each other.
Other Effects
2207_confused_face_teen.jpg
Alcohol has many other effects on the body. Included on the list are:

Physical condition
Coordination
Reaction time

Physical Condition - While alcohol has calories, they are not nutritional in nature and thus can contribute to poor physical condition if drinking is substituted for eating nutritious foods.

Coordination - Hand-eye coordination, walking, and balance are all adversely affected by alcohol.

Reaction Time - While simple reaction time (one response to one stimulus) is typically not adversely affected until legal levels of impairment are reached, choice or complex reaction time (responding to multiple stimuli and response possibilities) has been shown to be affected by blood alcohol level of at least .04.


Long-Term Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs

Chronic long-term use of alcohol or other drugs can produce many adverse health effects on humans.

Some of the damaging effects of alcohol include:

Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver. This is a leading cause of deaths in the U.S. Long-term heavy use of alcohol is the cause of this in 80% of the cases.
Excess stomach acid. Alcohol causes the stomach to produce excess stomach acid. This can lead to gastritis (inflammation of stomach lining) and lead to stomach ulcers.
Pancreas effects. Alcohol can influence the pancreas. This can cause nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Irritated esophagus. The esophagus can become irritated which causes chest pain and pain when swallowing.
Alcoholic heart muscle disease. Long-term alcohol use can deteriorate the heart muscle.
Malnutrition. Over consumption can lead to nutrient deficiencies as the calories from alcohol are “empty” (few vitamins, minerals, etc.).
Brain disorders. Chronic excessive use of alcohol has been shown to be directly associated with neurological and mental disorders as well as seizures. Korsakoff’s Psychosis (profound recent memory impairment) and brain shrinkage can result.
Weight loss/gain. Weight loss requires burning more calories than being taken in. Alcohol can increase appetite and reduce the amount of fat your body burns for energy.

Review

2208_ruth_paying_attention.jpg Vision is critical to safe driving. Sharpness of vision (acuity) is greatest in the center of the retina (where most light rays are focused) where the cones are most dense. Details such as traffic signs can be seen in this area. Alcohol, or any other drug which reduces the supply of oxygen in the bloodstream, can impair the sensitivity of the cones which, in turn, reduces the visual acuity or sharpness.

Normally, it takes one second for the pupil to constrict and respond to the glare of oncoming headlights. It takes seven seconds after exposure to headlight glare for the pupil to adapt once again to dark conditions. This recovery action is slowed by alcohol.

A BAL of .055 can reduce the field of vision by 30%. A reduction of the visual field makes it more difficult to see potential hazards on either side. When consuming alcohol, the sensitivity of the cones of the retina decreases, making it more difficult to distinguish colors. Research indicates that a blood alcohol level of .12 reduces the distance a pedestrian can be seen by a driver by about 20%. Alcohol consumption can also result in double vision.

Consuming alcohol also effects physical condition, coordination, and reaction time. Some more of the seriously damaging effects of alcohol include:

Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver
Excess stomach acid
Pancreas effects
Irritated esophagus
Alcoholic heart muscle disease
Malnutrition
Brain disorders
Weight loss/gain

Effects of Different Types of Drugs


Introduction

Drugs are designed to alter specific body functions and consequently can alter the ability to perceive, make sound judgments, and react quickly.


Every Body is Different

There are several types of drugs, including alcohol. How a drug interacts with your body depends on the dosage, food intake, and body weight/metabolism. Each type of drug has a potentially harmful effect on the body and the ability to safely operate a vehicle.

The body reacts to drugs in many ways, many are unpredictable. This is especially true when drugs are combined.

2301a_drug_store.jpg Adverse effects of different types of drugs include:

Headache
Blurred vision
Fatigue
Faintness
Nausea
Vomiting
Tremors
Impaired judgment
Impaired reflexes
Drowsiness
Confusion
Decreased ability to concentrate
Inattention
Dizziness
Depression
Panic
Fear
Hallucination
Hyperactivity
Bleeding in the stomach and intestines

This is not a complete list, but are the most common adverse effects of drugs on the body. Clearly, if a person is experiencing these effects, they should not be behind the wheel.

This module will address the types of drugs, their effects, and the importance of understanding what happens when drugs are absorbed into the system.



This module introduces you to the effects of different types of drugs. The topics that will be covered include:

Types of Drugs
Synergistic Effects
Drink Equivalency
Physiological Aspects of Drug Use
Legal Drugs

Types of Drugs

Never drive a motor vehicle after taking a substance which alters the central nervous system. This includes over-the-counter, prescription, and of course, illegal drugs.

2303a_cold_medication.jpg The following categories of drugs have known side effects that include impaired attention, reaction time, and vision:

Antihistamines
Pain Relievers
Tranquilizers
Hallucinogens
Stimulants
Narcotics

Antihistamines - These drugs are used to relieve colds, allergies, and motion sickness. They also can cause decreased alertness, relaxation, slowed reaction time, and drowsiness.

Pain Relievers - Sometimes called “Analgesics,” these drugs can be either over-the-counter or by prescription. The opiate narcotics can have side effects such as drowsiness, mental clouding, and nausea.

Tranquilizers - This group of drugs is used to treat anxiety, stress disorders, and muscle tremors. Since they depress the body, they can cause thinking problems and motor ability loss.

Hallucinogens - These drugs (LSD, Peyote, and MDMA are examples) cause sensory and emotional distortions. Sense of time and space may be dramatically altered and a person may see colors and hear sounds.

Stimulants - Stimulant drugs may cause pleasant feelings, increased energy, and a state of euphoria (high). They include cocaine, amphetamines, and caffeine. Side effects are restlessness, irritability, and hallucinations.

Narcotics - Used for pain relief, anti-cough medications, and treatment of diarrhea, these drugs can produce insensibility and stupor.

Synergistic Effects
2304_combining_drugs.jpg
It is very dangerous to combine alcohol and other drugs.

Combining different drugs may cause a more intense effect than if you only take one drug at a time. This effect is called synergism and is unpredictable and extremely dangerous. Synergism occurs when the effect of one drug is enhanced by the presence of another drug. Just like any chemical reaction, chemicals might be stable alone, but when mixed, a dangerous chemical reaction can occur.

If you combine similar drugs, for example, two depressants, the effect of combining two might be similar to taking three. This is especially true with alcohol.

The same is true for combining drugs that have opposite effects. You may have different reactions to the individual drugs.

Never combine drugs and use legal drugs only as recommended. This effect is not only for alcohol/drug combinations, but drug A to drug B combinations.

Drink Equivalency

There is a great deal of misinformation about the amount of alcohol in various beverages.

The average alcohol content of beer is 4.8% by volume.
2305b_different_beer.jpg
Examples include (all are by volume):

Budweiser - 5.0%
Bud Dry - 5.0%
Icehouse (ale) - 5.5%
Bud Ice Draft (beer) - 4.8%
Lite Ice (ale) - 5.5%
Bud Ice Draft Lite (beer) - 4.3%
Schlitz (beer) - 4.6%
Bull Ice Malt Liquor - 7.7%
Molson Ice (ale) - 5.3%
Coors Arctic Ice (ale) - 5.3%
Iceman Malt Liquor - 6.1%
Zima (beer) - 4.6%
Coors Light - 4.0%
Michelob - 5.0%

To compute the amount of alcohol in the average beer, multiply 12 oz. by 4.8%. Repeat this process using a cooler (12 oz. X 5%) and 1 oz. whiskey X 40% alcohol, and a 4 oz. glass of wine X 12% alcohol. Proof means twice the alcoholic content of the beverage. Thus 80-proof = 40% alcohol, etc. The comparison will look like this:
12 oz. beer 12 oz. cooler 1 oz. whiskey 4 oz. wine
.048 .05 .40 .12
.58 oz. alcohol .60 oz. alcohol .40 oz. alcohol .48 oz. alcohol

2305_beer_wine_shot.jpg It can be seen that, for the servings of alcohol content used, they all have differing amounts of alcohol, but that beer actually has more alcohol than whiskey, and the cooler is even stronger. In terms of percent, beer has 44% more alcohol than whiskey, and the cooler has 50% more alcohol than whiskey. In addition to coolers, a category called “low alcohol refreshers” has come on the market. These are similar to coolers and may not have the alcohol content printed on the label, but actually have more alcohol than a regular beer. For example, a Bacardi Breezer has 5.1% alcohol. While this may seem an insignificant difference as compared to beer, it is important to realize that a person can become very impaired on coolers or other similar drinks.

It does take more ounces of beer than whiskey to become impaired, but people tend to drink more beer (total ounces) than whiskey. If a person only drank one of any of the four examples used, the BAL reached would not be dramatically different. The difference could be huge if a person drank a 6-pack of beer or coolers vs. drinking six 1 oz. shots of 80-proof whiskey.

There are a variety of shot sizes (3/4, 7/8, 1 1/4, 1 1/2 oz.) and sizes of beer (12, 16, 20, 24, 32, 40 oz.) The results of using these levels will only cause a slight difference. There are also an infinite number of ways to mix alcoholic beverages, so a drink by drink comparison can only be made when size and alcohol content of the drinks involved are known. Many mixed drinks (Long Island Iced Tea, margaritas, etc.) have increased amounts of alcohol, and one of these drinks may equal two, three, or more of a standard drink.

Physiological Aspects of Drug Use


Use

Alcohol is a toxic substance. Its use causes irritation. For example, if you pour alcohol on a cut, it hurts. Many people use or experiment with consuming alcohol. A part of our culture is the availability of alcohol at many social occasions. Society often pressures people to “use” alcohol - the use of alcohol has no benefit to the body or society.


Abuse

Abuse means abnormal “use.” Excessive consumption of alcohol or other drugs affects the physiology of the body in many ways, a number of which were covered in module 2.1, Short-term Effects.

Other parts of the body that experience negative physiological effects include:

Skin
Kidneys
Endocrine system
Hearing
Sexual organs
Blood

2306a_shot_closeup.jpg
Dependence

Physical dependence reflects changes in the way organs and body systems respond to a drug (a physical need has been achieved). Withdrawal from the drug produces adverse effects. Persons who are physically dependent have social, personal skills, relationship, and brain and motor function problems.


Addiction

This is defined as “a state of periodic or chronic impairment detrimental to the individual and society,” which is characterized by an overwhelming desire to continue taking the drug and to obtain it by “any means.” Persons who become physically addicted to any drug require medical and psychological help.


Almost all drugs have some potentially dangerous side effects. This includes legally prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medications.


Legal Medications

Persons prescribed a medication by a doctor should ask about possible negative effects of the drug on driving and other activities. The warnings which come with prescriptions should also be read and closely followed.


Over-the-Counter Drugs

These may be obtained with no knowledge or oversight by a physician. Care should be taken to read the warning label of all over-the-counter drugs. Always take the correct dose and use care when driving or participating in activities where side effects may cause problems.

There are several types of drugs. Never drive a motor vehicle after taking a substance which alters the central nervous system. This includes over-the-counter, prescription, and of course, illegal drugs.

2308b_synergism.jpg The following categories of drugs have known side effects that include impaired attention, reaction time, and vision:

Antihistamines
Pain Relievers
Tranquilizers
Hallucinogens
Stimulants
Narcotics

It is very dangerous to combine alcohol and other drugs. Synergism occurs when the effect of one drug is enhanced by the presence of another drug. A multiplying rather than additive effect may occur.

It takes more ounces of beer than whiskey to become impaired, but people tend to drink more beer (total ounces) than whiskey. Regarding the servings of assorted alcohol beverages, they all have differing amounts of alcohol. Beer actually has more alcohol than whiskey and coolers are even stronger. There are also an infinite number of ways to mix alcoholic beverages so a drink by drink comparison can only be made when size and alcohol content of the drinks involved are known.
2307a_other_option.jpg
Alcohol is a toxic substance. The use of alcohol has no benefit to the body or society. Abuse or excessive consumption of alcohol or other drugs affects the physiology of the body in many ways. If a body becomes accustomed to the presence of alcohol continuously, a physical dependence develops and changes in the way organs and body systems respond to a drug. Addiction is “a state of periodic or chronic impairment detrimental to the individual and society, which is characterized by an overwhelming desire to continue taking the drug and to obtain it by any means.”

Almost all drugs have some potentially dangerous side effects. Read the warning labels on prescriptions and closely follow the instructions about combining the drug with other drugs and warning not to operate heavy machinery (your vehicle).

If you buy an over-the-counter medication for a cold or other condition, take the correct dose and use care when driving or participating in activities where side effects may cause problems.

Introduction

When you think of impairment, the term is usually associated with the effects of drinking or consuming other drugs.

Stress, your emotions, and being tired also have similar effects on your ability to drive safely. Stress and aggression are often displayed by the way people drive.

Being tired also has very similar effects on the body as alcohol consumption.

This module will explore the ways to recognize and manage stress, emotional impairment, and fatigue-impaired driving.

Learning Objectives

This module addresses stress, emotions, and fatigue. The topics that will be covered include:

Stress
Why Driving Makes People Angry
Aggressive Driving
Managing Your Emotions
Fatigue

Stress

While many people use alcohol to relieve stress, there are a number of positive ways to deal with stress. These include: 3103b_teen_fun_face.jpg

Relaxation techniques.
Exercise - Physical activity is one of the most effective stress remedies available.
Watch your diet - Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fats, and tobacco all put a strain on your body's ability to cope with stress. A diet with a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods high in protein but low in fat will help create optimum health.
Get enough rest and sleep.
Get away for a while - Read a book, watch a movie, play a game, listen to music, or go out with friends. Leave yourself some time that's just for you.
Work off your anger - Get physically active, wash your car, offer to clean out the garage, mow the yard, clean your room!!!
Have some fun!! Laugh and be with people you enjoy!

Why Driving Makes People Angry

Driving is a dramatic and dynamic activity that involves high-risk incidents and interaction with thousands of unpredictable drivers. Routine events are mixed with incidents that are not routine such as being cut off, tailgated, or having to follow a very slow moving vehicle. 3104a_traffic_jam.jpg

We enjoy the freedom and independence of driving when and where we please. Many drivers do not react well when that expected freedom is interrupted by restrictions, regulations, congestion, and the unexpected actions of other drivers.

The following is a list of emotional challenges that are common reasons why drivers get angry, hostile, and exhibit aggressive behavior:

Restriction. In a traffic jam, when drivers can't get where they are going on time or at the expected speed of travel, anxiety builds up to “escape” the confinement of congested traffic. This anxiety causes drivers to perform aggressive maneuvers to get away or get ahead of others.

Being confronted with danger. Congested traffic filled with impatient drivers making unpredictable moves causes close calls and near collisions. Being confronted with dangerous situations increases stress, fear, resentment, and rage.

Regulation. Government regulation and all of the rules associated with driving angers some people because they feel like it is an imposition, prompting them to disregard the rules because they do not agree with them or they are just rebellious.

Lack of control over the situation. When drivers have no control over their driving environment and are stuck in traffic, the lack of control over the traffic event is frustrating and often leads to anger vented towards a nearby driver. It is the application of the old adage, “frustration leads to aggression.”

3104c_signal_Lane_change.jpg Alcohol consumption tends to cause more aggressive behavior. This is another reason to avoid combining alcohol and driving.

Ways to avoid emotional distress when driving include:

Signal your intention to turn or change lanes
Obey the rules-of-the-road
Don’t tailgate - maintain a safe following distance
Separate your vehicle from erratic drivers
Extend courtesy to other drivers
Keep the volume on your speakers low

Aggressive Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”

3105a.jpg Examples of aggressive driving behavior include:

Improper passing
Speeding
Improper lane changing
Failure to obey traffic controls
Reckless, careless, or inattentive driving
Making illegal turns
Tailgating
Failure to signal lane changes
Shouting, swearing, name calling
Honking to protest another driver's actions
Shining high-beam headlights in retaliation
Using the vehicle to cut off other drivers
Chasing other vehicles in pursuit
Physical fighting
Gestures

Aggressive driving has several levels and an assortment of penalties - all of which can be avoided if you can learn how to manage your aggressive tendencies when driving.

3105b_cop_tocket.jpg Law enforcement agencies categorize observable aggressive driving behavior as:

Failure to yield the right-of-way
Cutting drivers off when passing
Not allowing someone to pass safely
Incorrectly yielding when entering traffic
Making unsafe U-turns
Not signaling before slowing for a turn
Driving across highway dividers
Passing in no-passing zones
Passing stopped school buses when warning lights are flashing
Speeding in marked construction areas
Throwing an object from the vehicle

The list goes on, but it is important to recognize that these behaviors are considered “aggressive” by law enforcement because they demonstrate a disregard for the law.

The aggressive driver typically denies that these collision-causing behaviors are aggressive. But it is clear that drivers that put others in danger by the way they choose to drive are hostile, dangerous, and selfish. They want to force others out of their way. These drivers feel justified in dominating others and that’s what labels this type of behavior “aggressive driving.”

Aggressive drivers kill two to four times more people than impaired drivers.

Managing Your Emotions

When you detect your emotions dominating your judgment and actions, practice a technique called self-regulation. Postpone the gratification of getting even or engaging in a hostile act. Short-circuit the buildup of rage. 3106a_calm_driver_female.jpg

Don't be competitive. Driving is not a contest.
Don't take the aggressive actions of other drivers personally. Try not to be judgmental. Don't jump to conclusions about their behavior or actions. Put yourself in the other drivers' shoes. Perhaps they are dealing with an emergency.
Listen to soothing music.
Cool off when you are angry or frustrated.
Go with the flow of traffic. Do not try to beat it or fight it.
Give yourself more time then you think you will need to complete your trip. Leave early.
Stay focused on the driving task. Using a handheld electronic device while driving takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road, making it a distraction with one of the highest risks. You are not looking at the road ahead and you are not using your hands to control the direction of your vehicle. To compound the risk, using a handheld electronic device requires your thought process to be diverted from the task of driving.
Demonstrate the kind of courtesy you would like to receive from others.
Adjust the air conditioner to keep yourself cool and calm.

Turn a negative driving situation into a positive scenario. Concentrate on the safety of your vehicle, yourself, and your passengers. If you use courteous behavior, you and society in general will benefit from your decision.

Fatigue

It's a busy world. You do so much every day and it is easy to get worn out. Your body demands rest, it can't live without it, and it will shut itself down to get it! If you fall asleep at the wheel, it doesn't just affect you. Your passengers and every other user of the highway system are in peril if you are tired and drive.

Lack of sleep is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities.

Fatigue can be both mental and physical. Learn to recognize mental and physical fatigue so that you can be sure you never get in a vehicle when your body wants to capture the sleep it needs.


Circadian Rhythm

There is a rhythm built into the human body to seek rest for itself. This rhythm is called the circadian rhythm, and it is on a 24-hour cycle. The body naturally relaxes between 12:00-1:00 a.m. and 4:00-5:00 a.m. - that's why we sleep at night. It is not safe to drive if you have stayed awake during your natural sleep time.

Another time the body naturally seeks rest is in the afternoon, between 1:00-4:00 p.m. Avoid driving during your afternoon "low-time" and during your early morning downtime. 3107b_blurred_vision.jpg


Tired Vision

If you work a late shift or stay up all night doing homework, be aware that fatigue affects your body and your mind. It also affects your senses, especially vision. Fatigue affects your vision because your eye muscles are tired along with the rest of your body and it is difficult to focus.


Microsleep

Microsleeps are sudden, unexpected moments of sleep that last 4-5 seconds. In 4-5 seconds, traveling 50 miles per hour, your vehicle can travel the length of a football field. Microsleep is unpredictable and is only avoided with rest.


Fatigue is Like Consuming Alcohol

3107cr_teen_fatigue_female_.jpg Fatigue has many of the same dangerous effects as drinking alcohol.

12 hours awake = same effect as .032 blood alcohol level

18 hours awake = same effect as .07 blood alcohol level

24 hours awake = same effect as .1 blood alcohol level

Ways to deal with fatigue related to driving include:

Get a good night sleep prior to a trip.
Drive with a passenger.
Have regular stops.
Avoid alcohol/drugs which cause drowsiness.
Stop and take a brief nap (choose a safe place).

Remember, NOTHING compensates for fatigue but rest. Don't drive tired or after drinking and NEVER risk the combination!

Stress, your emotions, and being tired have dangerous effects on your ability to drive safely. Stress and aggression are often displayed by the way people drive.

3108_review.jpg Many people think alcohol consumption is a good way to relieve stress. Positive ways to deal with stress include:

Relaxation
Exercise
Good diet
Being rested
Escape with a book, movie, or game
Physical activity
Have some fun!! Laugh and be with people you enjoy!

Common reasons why drivers get angry, hostile, and exhibit aggressive behavior include:

Restriction
Being confronted with danger
Regulation
Lack of control over the situation

Alcohol consumption tends to cause more aggressive behavior. This is another reason to avoid combining alcohol and driving.

Aggressive drivers kill two to four times more people than impaired drivers.

In Florida you can be issued a citation for aggressive driving if you exhibit these behaviors (FS 316.1923):

Failure to yield the right-of-way
Cutting drivers off when passing
Not allowing someone to pass safely
Incorrectly yielding when entering traffic
Making unsafe U-turns
Not signaling before slowing for a turn
Driving across highway dividers
Passing in no-passing zones
Passing stopped school buses when warning lights are flashing
Speeding in marked construction areas
Throwing an object from the vehicle

The list goes on, but it is important to recognize that these behaviors are considered "aggressive" by law enforcement because they demonstrate a disregard for the law.

When you detect your emotions dominating your judgment and actions, practice a technique called self-regulation. Postpone the gratification of getting even or engaging in a hostile act. Short-circuit the buildup of rage.

Turn a negative driving situation into a positive scenario. Concentrate on the safety of your vehicle, yourself, and your passengers. If you select courteous behavior, you and society in general will benefit from your decision.

Fatigue can be both mental and physical. Learn to recognize mental and physical fatigue so that you can be sure you never get in a vehicle when your body wants to capture the sleep it needs.

Fatigue affects your vision because your eye muscles are tired along with the rest of your body and it is difficult to focus. Microsleep is unpredictable and is only avoided with rest.

Fatigue has many of the same dangerous effects as drinking alcohol.

12 hours awake = same effect as .032 blood alcohol level
18 hours awake = same effect as .07 blood alcohol level
24 hours awake = same effect as .1 blood alcohol level

Ways to deal with fatigue related to driving include:

Get a good night sleep prior to a trip
Drive with a passenger
Have regular stops
Avoid alcohol/drugs which cause drowsiness
Stop and take a brief nap (choose a safe place)

So far in the course, we have covered the physiological (mechanical, physical, and biochemical) effects of alcohol and other drugs on the body.

Our next topic is the psychological (mental processes and behavior) factors related to alcohol and other drugs. A fully functional mind is necessary to process information from the eyes and other senses. When driving, the mind must quickly determine how to react to information and then send immediate instructions to your arms, hands, legs, and feet to steer and/or control the speed of your vehicle.

We have defined drug use, abuse, dependency, and addiction and will further elaborate on the psychological reasons why people choose to place themselves in these categories.

Alcohol is often a gateway or first step to the use of other drugs. This module will also address positive coping skills to help resist the temptation to use alcohol or other drugs.

Learning Objectives

This module introduces you to the psychological factors related to alcohol and other drugs. The topics that will be covered include:

Use, Abuse, Dependence, Addiction
Costs of Addiction
Legal Problems
Loss of Judgment
Safe Decisions
Use, Abuse, Dependence, Addiction

The four psychological aspects that will be covered are:

Use
Abuse
Dependence
Addiction


Use

Peer pressure to use alcohol is found throughout American society. Think about the word “drink.” When you hear a person say “I want a drink,” would you logically go get them a glass of water? The word “drink” has often come to mean an “alcoholic drink.” Here are some examples:

“Let’s go have a drink.”
“No thank you, I don’t drink.”
“He has a drinking problem.”
“She quit drinking for health reasons.”
“You are too young to drink.”


Abuse

When asked why they drink, many young people answer “to get drunk.” While “drunk” is a subjective term, it is usually associated with feeling “high,” released inhibitors, or different behavior. When a person is drunk, they are usually incapacitated by alcoholic beverages. Yet, you can be impaired after only one drink. If a person feels that it is necessary to consume a great deal of alcohol or other drugs to have a good time, to fit in with the crowd, etc., this behavior will occur.

For persons under age 21 in Florida and throughout the country, drinking any alcohol is abusive drinking because it is illegal.


Dependence

Just as a person can become physically dependent on alcohol or other drugs, it is possible to achieve a mental dependence. Mental dependence is dependence that results because a drug produces pleasant mental effects. This type of dependence produces intense cravings and strong urges that lead to alcohol or other drug abuse. It may be more significant than physical dependence.


Addiction

Psychological addiction can be explained by the “addicted to pleasure” theory. Certain areas of the brain, when stimulated, produce pleasurable feelings. Psychoactive substances are capable of acting on these brain mechanisms to produce these sensations. The desire to feel good and have the pleasurable feelings associated with alcohol or other drugs drives a person to continue using the substances.

People at the highest risk for drug use and addiction are those who maintain a constant preoccupation with getting high, seek new or novel thrills in their experiences, and are known to have a relentless desire to pursue physical stimulation or dangerous behaviors. These types of people are classified as sensation-seeking individuals.

Costs of Addiction

Addiction is expensive and can destroy relationships, disrupt families, cause individuals to lose their jobs, and cause economic problems.


Alienation of Friends and Family

Heavy drinkers often alienate their friends and family. The only people that stay close are those who also drink heavily. While friends initially may seek to provide excuses for abnormal behavior, as time goes on, these friendships disappear. Sexual functionality has strong psychological components which may also be impacted by addiction. This is not only an indication of poor health, but can impact your relationships.

Heavy drinking can also be detrimental to family life, often leading to arguments. Family members become alienated because of addiction-related problems. Homes with heavy drinkers often have higher divorce rates and higher rates of child abuse. In the event of a divorce, you may lose custody of your children (Cool.


Loss of Job

Losing a job not only cuts off income, but it has strong psychological repercussions. The psychological importance of work is demonstrated by one of the first questions we tend to ask when we meet a new person - “What do you do?” Being late for work, absenteeism, and poor performance because of drinking or other drug use often lead to being fired. It can also lead to an inability to concentrate, which results in mistakes and accidents at work.

Heavy drinkers may put off their responsibilities at work - if you never get things done, you will get fired. The work area is often the last component of a drinker’s life to be affected. When an individual loses their job because of alcohol or drug use, this is a serious sign of a problem. This often leads to chronic unemployment, which means less income and also looks bad on a resume.
3204b_abuse_money_issues.jpg

Personal Economic Cost

In addition to loss of income from being fired from a job, there are many other costs associated with abuse of alcohol and other drugs that quickly add up. Heavy drinking can lead to poor decisions that often come with a cost. Possible money issues related to alcohol or other drugs use include:

Cost of the substance
Fines for offenses
Lawsuits if activities cause damage or injury to another, including legal fees
Increased insurance costs because of crashes, both car and medical
Health care costs, including hospitalization
Attorney fees
Necessary therapies
Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation housing
Vehicle Repairs

Legal Problems

There are many legal problems caused by inappropriate use of alcohol and other drugs which are very serious, and the record of these issues can follow an individual throughout a lifetime. Examples of legal problems include:

Loss of license
Jail
Probation
Civil suits
Community service
Damage to property, others and your own
Fighting
Damages to your car
Divorce
Loss of child custody
Traffic violations
DUI
Public intoxication

Specific Florida laws related to these penalties will be covered in a later section.

Loss of Judgment

As related previously in the section on alcohol’s effect on the brain, judgment loss is one of the first adverse aspects of use of alcohol.

Impaired individuals believe their judgment is fine, or perhaps better than normal. The opposite is true. A sober person will likely make a better decision than if they are impaired.

Think about some examples of poor decisions you have observed others making after consuming alcohol or other drugs. Typical examples include:

Driving Too Fast/Slow - Alcohol can cause either of these conditions. For young people, it is more likely that they will drive too fast after drinking because of their natural risk-taking propensities.
Engaging in Sex - Alcohol can make people believe that sexuality is enhanced. In addition, since the part of the brain which permits clear and rational decisions to be made is impaired, they are much less likely to consider the many possible negative consequences of sex (disease, pregnancy, guilt, reputation, etc.).
Failing to Do School Work - Persons who are “hung over” or in varying stages of impairment are unlikely to make school work a priority and the quality of any work done is apt to be poor.
Arguments/Fights - Alcohol tends to produce aggressive behavior at a time when clear thinking has been affected. This often results in physical or verbal assaults.
Spending Too Much Money - This could be on alcohol for the individual or buying excess amounts for other people because of reduced decision-making ability.

The reason for many of these poor decisions is release of inhibitions. Inhibitions are self-imposed restraints that help us keep a check on our actions and stay out of troublesome or embarrassing situations.

Alcohol as a Gateway Drug
3207_gateway_drug.jpg
Not only does alcohol lead to addiction and dependencies, but it is also a gateway drug. A gateway drug is one which precedes the use of illegal or illicit drugs. Alcohol use has been shown to make it more likely that adolescents experiment with illegal drugs.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that alcohol drinkers were more likely to use an illicit drug at least once, compared to non-alcohol drinkers. Over 52% of alcohol users had used an illicit drug at some point in their lives compared to only 8% of non-alcohol users (9).

People choose to drink for a variety of reasons. These include:

Taste
Relaxation
Cope with problems
Celebrate
Get "drunk"
Peer pressure

While alcohol or other drugs may make a person forget problems, these problems do not disappear and often new problems are created because of drinking or using other drugs.


Positive Coping Skills

Life can be stressful and you may need a way to help you deal with your problems. You use coping skills that can be positive or negative. Positive coping skills involve making choices that resolve problems. Negative coping skills involve suppressing or hiding your problems and keeping them to yourself. Negative coping skills include drinking and using other drugs, acting violently or fighting, driving recklessly, over/under eating, and withdrawing from friends and family. These things just mask the problem, providing you with short-term relief. Using positive coping skills will help you resolve problems and reduce stress more quickly than using negative coping skills. Examples of positive coping skills include:

Exercising
Eating regularly
Avoiding alcohol
Cultivating helpful friends
Learning to say “NO”
Listening to music
Playing games
Talking to a friend or family member about your problems

Using these positive coping skills will keep you from becoming dependant on alcohol to hide your problems. Positive coping skills are a much healthier way of dealing with your problems and will help you avoid all the economic, legal, and family issues that come with alcohol addiction.

Review

Psychological factors related to alcohol and other drugs address mental processes and behavior. When driving, the brain must be able to quickly determine how to react to information and then send instructions to your arms, hands, legs, and feet to steer and control the speed of your vehicle.

3208_teens_crossing_street.jpg If a person feels that it is necessary to consume a great deal of alcohol or other drugs to have a good time, fit in with the crowd, etc., abusive behavior will occur. For persons under age 21 in Florida and throughout the country, drinking any alcohol is abusive drinking because it is illegal.

Mental dependence is dependence that results because a drug produces pleasant mental effects. This type of dependence produces intense cravings and strong urges that lead to alcohol or other drug abuse.

Addiction occurs when the desire to feel good and have the pleasurable feelings associated with alcohol or other drugs drives the desire to continue using the substances.

Addiction is expensive and can destroy relationships, disrupt families, and cause individuals to lose their jobs.

Examples of legal problems caused by inappropriate use of alcohol and other drugs include:

Loss of license
Jail
Probation
Civil suits
Community service

3206c_fighting.jpgPoor decisions are often made under the influence of alcohol and other drugs:

Driving too quickly/slowly
Engaging in sex
Failing to do school work
Arguments/fights
Spending too much money

Positive coping skills involve making choices which resolve problems rather than just hide them. Examples of positive ways of coping include:

Exercise
Regular eating
Avoid alcohol
Cultivate helpful friends
Learn to say “NO”

The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment
3301_crash_fatal.jpg
Introduction

Alcohol is the number one drug used by teens. Driving while impaired by alcohol or other drugs and being on the road in the presence of an impaired driver poses the greatest threat to your life and the lives of your friends.

The costs associated with alcohol and drug abuse go way beyond the monetary costs of going to court, increased insurance, and crash repairs. When the consequences of driving while impaired involve injury or death, the costs can be horrific and impossible to measure.

Not only are people under the influence a risk to themselves, but they become a risk to others around them as well.

Learning Objectives

This module is about the costs associated with driving and alcohol/drug-related impairment. The topics that will be covered include:

Crashes, Deaths, Injury, and Monetary Costs
Crashes are Avoidable
Effects of Impaired Drivers on Others
Risk to Sober Drivers
Victims Do Not Always Die

Crashes, Deaths, Injury, and Monetary Costs

On average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes (5). Each one of these crashes could be avoided if everyone took the social responsibility “don’t drink and drive” seriously.
3303_roadside_memorial.jpg
Try to imagine how many people are impacted by an alcohol-related death every 32 minutes. If one of your friends or siblings died because they were involved in a crash related to alcohol or drugs, how many people in your family would be devastated? How would it change your life? How many families would be affected? How many friends would it hurt to never see that person again? So now imagine the impact of having that many people affected because of an avoidable incident that happens in our society an average of 48 times a day. The numbers are impossible to measure!

Not everyone who gets hit by an impaired driver dies. The pain and suffering related to the injuries sustained in a crash may often be worse than dying to severely injured individuals.

People who are caught driving under the influence are categorized as reckless and careless, or worse. The social stigma of being a “drunk loser” may stick with you for life.

Costs that can be more accurately measured are the dollar costs - which are steep! In 2006, the estimated economic cost of alcohol-related crashes in the U.S. was over $129 billion. This includes monetary costs and insurance claims.

Even simple collisions can cost thousands of dollars in vehicle repair and increased insurance premiums. If you were impaired and responsible for a crash or get caught driving under the influence of drugs, where would this kind of money come from?


Florida 2008

In Florida, the numbers of deaths, injuries, and crashes related to alcohol/drug abuse are gathered each year. In 2008, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 39% of traffic fatalities and 9% of traffic crashes were alcohol-related. Drivers in the age group of 15 to 19 years old have the highest rate of crashes. Drivers age 20 to 24 years old hold the highest rate in fatal crashes (3). There was a decrease from 2007 in each of these categories:

Deaths - 1,169 alcohol-related traffic deaths
Injuries - 15,736 alcohol-related injury crashes
Crashes - 22,259 alcohol-related crashes
Crashes are Avoidable
3304_crash.jpg
A collision is something that is unavoidable. Crashes caused by poor driving are avoidable. Crashes and collisions are the result of something a driver does wrong behind the wheel - that’s why drivers need to develop good driving habits, follow the rules, and be good, safe drivers. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is obviously not a safe driving habit.

Take a moment again to imagine how many people are really impacted by those alcohol-related deaths that occur every 32 minutes. Friends and family relationships are permanently altered by losses in these crashes. Think about the pain suffered by so many people. The numbers and suffering are impossible to measure.

Law enforcement officers write citations for speeding and for seat belt violations. They also try to remove impaired drivers off the road before they kill people. It’s a proven fact that those things save lives.


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Inbō Sake
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Re: Niggle shit

Post by Inbō Sake on Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:34 pm

The Cost of Drinking and Driving Under 21 = Suspension

In Florida, drivers under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more will have their license immediately suspended for six months. This administrative action is for a first offense; a second offense will result in a one year suspension (FS 322.2616).

Refusal to submit to testing (first offense) results in a suspension of 12 months. A second or subsequent refusal is a 1st degree misdemeanor (FS 322.2616).

If your license is suspended, you will need to find alternative transportation. If you can’t get to your job, you lose your income. If you can’t find transportation to a team practice, you might have to quit the team. If you can’t drive to the mall or the movies, there goes your social life. The costs associated with a suspended license are not as great a losing your life or being injured, yet none of these consequences are worth the risk of drinking and getting behind the wheel.

3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment


Effect of Impaired Drivers on Others

Impaired drivers not only harm themselves, but they harm other individuals and affect our entire society.

Hard-earned tax dollars are spent policing and prosecuting impaired drivers. Endless hours of training and law enforcement time are dedicated to the detection and removal of impaired drivers from our roads.

Our court system is also tied up with trials and prosecutions of impaired drivers. Those costs are huge and represent yet another cost to Florida taxpayers.

When a person is caught and legally labeled as a DUI offender, they will carry the stigma of being an impaired driver and the record of the offense on their driving record for their lifetime. Many people in our society view an impaired driver not only as reckless, selfish, and irresponsible, but a danger to society.

Other costs that cannot be measured include strained relationships, money losses, in addition to injury and death caused by riding with an impaired driver.

Risk to Sober Drivers

3306_cost_of_enforcement.jpg Mixing alcohol with driving does not just affect the driver who has been drinking or doing drugs. It has a potential impact on all other drivers who share the road. Impaired drivers are responsible for motor vehicle crashes that kill sober drivers too - not just themselves. All drivers who share the road with an impaired driver are at risk.

You don’t have to be drinking or under the influence of another drug to be the victim of a drug-related crash. Three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives, and many of those people will be sober.

On average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes (5).

Sober drivers are killed by impaired drivers, especially late at night.

One study found that a sober driver’s chance of being involved in a fatal crash with an impaired driver is about 50 times as great during 1:00-3:00 a.m. as it is from 7:00 a.m.-noon.

Victims Do Not Always Die
3307b_crash.jpg
In 1999, 20 year old Jacqueline Saburido left her family and friends in Venezuela to come to Austin, Texas.

She traded flamenco dancing and jet skiing for an adventure in a new country and the chance to learn English.

Reggie Stephey was a senior at Lake Travis High School near Austin. He played baseball and football.

Early one Sunday morning in the fall of 1999, Jacqui’s and Reggie’s paths crossed.

In a split second, their lives would be changed forever.

Just a few hours earlier, Jacqui had been at a birthday party with some of her new friends.

It was late when they left the birthday party.

That same Saturday, Reggie met some friends after work and had a few beers. Later, he went to a party and drank some more, even though it is illegal for anyone under 21 to buy or possess alcohol in Texas.

On a four-lane road just outside of Austin, Reggie’s SUV crossed the centerline and hit the car Jacqui was riding in, head-on.
3307a_jacqi_before.jpg
Two of Jacqui’s friends died instantly. Jacqui’s legs were pinned under the dashboard. Trapped, Jacqui begged for help, but rescuers could not get her out. A fire started in the engine and spread to the inside of the car. Engulfed in flames, she screamed for 45 seconds. Then there was silence.

Other than a few bruises, Reggie was OK except for one thing. A blood test showed he had been drinking. Police officers arrested Reggie and took him to jail.

Jacqui was barely alive when she arrived at the hospital. She was burned over most of her body. The pain was indescribable and constant. Jacqui spent months in the hospital.

Reggie Stephey was tried and convicted for causing the deaths of two people while he was driving impaired. He is now in the state penitentiary, serving two concurrent 7-year sentences for intoxication manslaughter. Reggie never thought this could happen to him. He will be 28 years old when he is released from prison. The damage he did, he says, is “a pain that will never go away.”

Four years later, Jacqui’s recovery continues. She has had more than 50 operations so far and has many more to go. To get the medical care she needs, she must live in the United States - far away from family and friends.

Once fiercely independent, Jacqui has come to rely on her father, Amadeo, to take care of her. Amadeo left his business in Caracas to take care of his only child. He has not left her side since the crash.

In May 2003, after many operations to replace her left eyelid that was completely destroyed in the fire, Jacqui was able to have a cornea transplant. The operation was a success, and some of her vision has now been restored.

Jacqui doesn’t want anyone else to have to endure the suffering that she has experienced. When she is physically able, Jacqui speaks out against impaired driving.

Jacqui’s incredible story of courage and determination has touched millions of people throughout the world. Thousands of people have written her letters or sent emails. Many people who hear Jacqui’s story want to do something.

Review

3308b_bunch_of_bottles.jpg Alcohol is the number one drug used by teens. Alcohol and drug abuse affect more than just impaired individuals. It affects their family, friends, and other drivers on the road.

On the average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes. Each one of these crashes could be avoided if everyone took the social responsibility “don’t drink and drive” seriously.

Costs of alcohol and drug abuse are not only monetary costs, but the pain and loss of family members and friends.

When an individual chooses to make bad choices, they have to be ready to deal with the consequences of their bad choices. Drinking while under the influence of alcohol is always a bad choice.

In Florida, drivers under the age of 21, with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more, will have their licenses immediately suspended for six months. This administrative action is for a first offense; a second offense will result in a one year suspension (FS 322.2616).

Impaired drivers not only harm themselves but they harm other individuals and affect our entire society.

Hard-earned tax dollars are spent policing and prosecuting impaired drivers. Our court system is also tied up with trials and prosecutions of impaired drivers. Those costs are huge and represent yet another cost to Florida taxpayers.

If you are caught and legally labeled as a DUI offender, you will carry the record of the offense on your driving record for your lifetime. There is also a stigma to being labeled as a DUI offender.

The driver who has been drinking or doing drugs has a potential impact on all other drivers who share the road. Impaired drivers are responsible for motor vehicle crashes that kill sober drivers too.

Thirty percent of Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives and many of those people will be sober.

Sober drivers are killed by impaired drivers, especially late at night. The hours between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. hold the greatest degree of danger of being involved in a fatal crash.

At this point in your life, your future opportunities and options are unlimited. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged for you to enjoy these years. However, consider the huge changes that can occur in an instant from the reckless actions of a selfish person who drives under the influence of drugs. He/she has lost the ability to make wise decisions.

The emotional, societal, financial, legal, and physical detriments can have unending consequences. There are no winners at all for those who drink and drive - not the driver or anyone else. The losses can result in “a pain that will never go away.”


3308b_bunch_of_bottles.jpg Alcohol is the number one drug used by teens. Alcohol and drug abuse affect more than just impaired individuals. It affects their family, friends, and other drivers on the road.

On the average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes. Each one of these crashes could be avoided if everyone took the social responsibility “don’t drink and drive” seriously.

Costs of alcohol and drug abuse are not only monetary costs, but the pain and loss of family members and friends.

When an individual chooses to make bad choices, they have to be ready to deal with the consequences of their bad choices. Drinking while under the influence of alcohol is always a bad choice.

In Florida, drivers under the age of 21, with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more, will have their licenses immediately suspended for six months. This administrative action is for a first offense; a second offense will result in a one year suspension (FS 322.2616).

Impaired drivers not only harm themselves but they harm other individuals and affect our entire society.

Hard-earned tax dollars are spent policing and prosecuting impaired drivers. Our court system is also tied up with trials and prosecutions of impaired drivers. Those costs are huge and represent yet another cost to Florida taxpayers.

If you are caught and legally labeled as a DUI offender, you will carry the record of the offense on your driving record for your lifetime. There is also a stigma to being labeled as a DUI offender.

The driver who has been drinking or doing drugs has a potential impact on all other drivers who share the road. Impaired drivers are responsible for motor vehicle crashes that kill sober drivers too.

Thirty percent of Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives and many of those people will be sober.

Sober drivers are killed by impaired drivers, especially late at night. The hours between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. hold the greatest degree of danger of being involved in a fatal crash.

At this point in your life, your future opportunities and options are unlimited. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged for you to enjoy these years. However, consider the huge changes that can occur in an instant from the reckless actions of a selfish person who drives under the influence of drugs. He/she has lost the ability to make wise decisions.

The emotional, societal, financial, legal, and physical detriments can have unending consequences. There are no winners at all for those who drink and drive - not the driver or anyone else. The losses can result in “a pain that will never go away.”

Introduction

Alcohol reduces your ability to drive and increases your risk of being involved in a collision. There are key reasons why you should refrain from drinking and driving:

Alcohol affects your driving ability
Alcohol increases your chance of being in a fatal collision
Alcohol increases your chance that if you are the drinking driver you will be responsible for a crash if it occurs

This module is about specific ways alcohol affects your brain and your ability to drive.


4102_weaving_driver.jpg Learning Objectives

This module covers the effects of Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) on driving skills. The topics that will be addressed include:

Divided Attention
Information Processing
Tracking and Reaction Time
BAL and Reaction Time
Managing Your Risk


Divided Attention

It may not seem difficult, but driving is a complex multi-tasking activity. The driving environment is full of information that you need to pay attention to and it is critical for you to be able to process several messages at once.

4103_visual_overload_zoom-in-on-all-the-signs-and-traffic.jpg Examples of the types of continuous information you receive and need to process include:

Changing road conditions
Traffic conditions
Traffic signals, signs, and markings
Pedestrians and other road users
Interpreting or operating dashboard information (speed, gauges, lights)
Changing radio channels and CDs
Talking with your passengers

You must divide your attention among many different things on each trip. No matter how often you take the same route, the drive is always different. Your situation can also change very quickly. If your ability to divide your attention is impaired, the chances of being involved in a collision increase.

Alcohol has been shown to affect divided attention at BALs as low as .02, but most certainly at .05.

One of the most dangerous distractions while driving is your cell phone. Several states have already banned cell phone use while driving. In May 2007, Washington became the first state to ban the practice of driving while texting.

In 2009, 18% of the fatalities and 5% of the injuries in distraction-related crashes were the result of being distracted by a cellphone.

Before driving, become familiar with the features of your phone and program the numbers you use most often. If you have a phone in your vehicle, do not use it while the vehicle is in motion. To avoid the distraction of it ringing, turn the phone off or set it to go to voicemail.

If you need to have a conversation, pull over and use the phone only when you are parked in a safe and secure location.

Text messaging or surfing the internet on your wireless device while driving takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road. This makes using a wireless device a distraction with one of the highest risks. When texting you are not looking at the road ahead and you are not using your hands to control the direction of your vehicle. To compound the risk, using a wireless device requires your thought process to be diverted from the task of driving.

If you think you are fast with your device and have a stronger than survival need to continuously communicate using your phone or wireless device when driving, think about this the next time you want to send a text message:

If you are traveling at 60 mph, you will travel almost the length of a football field in three seconds. A lot can happen in that amount of time with your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.

Information Processing

After information has been received by your brain, it must be sorted out and processed, much like a computer. You need to take in and processes a great deal of information while you are driving, such as:

Interpreting the meaning of different road markings, for example, dashed white lines on the highway versus a dashed yellow line.

Processing the meaning of warning, informational, and directional signs. All those signs are giving you information about hazards, distance, speed limits, and directions to locations. For example, when you see a pennant-shaped sign placed on the left side of the road which means “no passing,” you must accurately judge the speed, direction, and intentions of other vehicles on the road with you. This could involve an increase or decrease in speed, signaling, lane changes, and making turns.

Alcohol has been found to adversely affect information processing at BALs as low as .02, but certainly at .05 or greater.

Tracking and Reaction Time


Tracking
4105a_lane_change.jpg
The lanes on our roadway system are not very wide and your vehicle takes up most of that space. You need to be able to control your vehicle accurately and precisely enough to stay in your lane. This is called tracking.

Tracking, or maintaining your vehicle within this relatively small area of travel, requires constant attention to steering and intermittent braking/acceleration adjustments.

If your BAL is in the .05-.08 range, your ability to track properly will be impaired. A common clue to law enforcement that a driver is impaired is the inability to track in the lane. Sometimes this is referred to as “weaving.” Avoid drivers that wander or weave in their lane - the driver may be impaired. Position your vehicle behind them and maintain a long following distance.


Reaction Time

4105b_kid_bike.jpg Studies have looked at two types of reaction time, “simple” and “complex.”

Simple reaction time is a stimulus response. If you touch something that is hot or electrified, you do not have to make a conscious decision to remove your hand. Basically, simple reaction time involves one action after receiving one stimulus. This could involve punching a button after hearing a certain sound or seeing a light come on.

Complex reaction time involves you selecting a specific and correct response from several choices when presented with several different stimuli. For example, in a experiment testing your ability to react to a complex situation you may be told to:

Press button A in response to a green light.
Press button B in response to a blue light.
Press button C in response to a red light.

Then the light would come on in a random pattern requiring you to correctly identify which light is illuminated and then correctly select and depress the appropriate button.

4105c_parking_cut_off.jpg This activity is obviously more complicated and would take more time than a response to only one light with one button.

Another example of simple versus complex reaction time is to compare moving your foot from the accelerator to the brake (simple) vs. having to brake, shift gears, signal, and hit the horn in a correct order (complex).

Based on these definitions, driving a motor vehicle often requires complex reaction because when you drive seldom do you deal with only one stimulus. When driving, you are constantly encountering numerous different situations and processing several things at once - and you have to be able to react quickly.


BAL and Reaction Time

An experiment was conducted by the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education Studies at Texas A&M University, using both a control and experimental group.
4106a_reaction_time.jpg
A total of 19 drivers varying in age, race, and sex were trained on six different exercises involving: steering, braking, judgment, reaction time, tracking, and general car control.

Driving exercises were divided into more complex areas (skid control, crash simulator, and auto control, which involved greater handling skills) and less complex (blocked lane, slalom, and T-Turn, which involved lesser amounts of judgment and handling).

After all drivers were tested in a sober condition, people in the experimental group drank alcoholic beverages of their choice (beer, wine coolers, mixed drinks, etc.). Breath and blood tests were then done and drivers re-drove the course. A steady decline in driving ability occurred as BALs increased, even though they drove exactly the same course on all trials.

Performances on the more complex maneuvers (skid control, crash simulator, and auto control) were affected much more than performance on maneuvers requiring less coordination of decision-making ability with motor ability (blocked lane, slalom, and T-Turn), even though there were losses on even these simple maneuvers as BAL increased.
4106b_wet_weather.jpg
While any alcohol produced losses, the more complex areas showed the greatest losses. This demonstrates that while you as a drinking driver may steer and brake adequately in simple everyday driving, mistakes are much more likely when you face something sudden or unexpected.

These results clearly show that while you may be able to steer, brake, etc. in many situations, fine muscle control and decision-making are impaired at BALs less than the level of .08.

It should be noted that the control (non-drinking) group’s performance was unchanged throughout the experiment.

This experiment demonstrated:

If your BAL is at .04 you can expect a 13% drop in complex performance compared to the sober level.
If your BAL is .07 you can expect a 17% drop in complex performance compared to the sober level.
If your BAL is .10 you can expect a 24% drop in complex performance compared to the sober level.

Managing Your Risk
4107a_crash.jpg
Driving involves taking some risk each time a trip is made. All motor vehicle operators accept and take risks. There is always the chance of being in a collision any time you drive.

Your goal should be to accept only those risks where the rewards outweigh the possible losses.

If you are under the influence of alcohol, it has been shown you are more likely to take more risks (drive excessively quickly or slowly, for example) than if you are sober.

Unfortunately, alcohol tends to make you take more risks at a time when you are the least able to cope with the risk involved. There is a multiple effect in action which can lead to collisions, injury, and death. This multiple effect will occur by at least .10 BAL and probably before that level.

The reasons you may take more risks after drinking include:

Impaired judgment and decision-making processes.
Lessened inhibitions may produce a desire to “show off” or release anger and hostility while driving.
Fleeing a police officer - If a traffic violation has been observed, you may try to get away from the officer because of the fear of a DUI arrest.

Alcohol also tends to produce more aggressive behavior in most people (willing to take greater risks or “show off”) while at the same time lowering the ability to cope with driving situations. Risk-taking has been shown to be affected at a BAL of .10.

Review

You must divide your attention among many different things on each trip. These things are never exactly the same from trip to trip and also can change from second to second on any given trip. Alcohol has been shown to affect divided attention at BALs as low as .02, but most certainly at .08.

You need to take in and processes a great deal of information while you are driving, including interpreting the meaning of various road markings and informational signs.

You must judge the speed, direction, and intentions of other vehicles. Alcohol has been found to adversely affect information processing at BALs as low as .02, but certainly at .05 or greater.

There are simple and complex reaction times. Driving presents a continuous “complex” situation requiring the ability to react and do many things at once.
4108b_passing_gap_ahead.jpg
A steady decline in driving ability occurs as BALs increase. Complex maneuvers are affected much more because fine muscle control and decision-making are impaired at BALs less than the level of .08.

Driving involves taking some risk each time a trip is made. Your goal should be to accept only those risks in which the rewards outweigh the possible losses. If you are under the influence of alcohol, you are more likely to take more risks (drive excessively quickly or slowly, for example) than if you are sober.

Alcohol tends to produce more aggressive behavior in most people (willing to take greater risks or “show off”) while at the same time lowering the ability to cope with driving situations.

Introduction

In module 4.1 we noted a 24% reduction in a driver’s ability to perform complex driving tasks with a BAL of .10. The average BAL at arrest is often significantly higher than the .10.

With the first drink, alcohol affects the brain. With every drink thereafter, the ability to process information and multi-task continues to diminish. With a BAL of .05, reaction time slows down. It takes longer for the brain to tell the hands and feet what they should do. Higher BAL will result in elevated risk-taking decisions.

The higher the BAL, the higher the risk of a fatal crash.

Impairment can be prevented - don’t drink! The absorption of alcohol can be slowed down by eating, but only time can reduce the BAL level.
4201_divided_attention.jpg
What can you do as an individual if circumstances exist where there is drinking? It is a good idea to be thinking about decisions that you can make when you are confronted with negative peer pressure to drink and possibly drive or to be in the vehicle with someone who has been drinking. Having a plan is a good defensive strategy to keep you safe and alive.

Finally, when you are on the road as a sober driver, you should be alert to the behaviors of drivers who might be driving while impaired.

This unit will serve to make you aware and safe if confronted with driving and drinking situations.

Learning Objectives

This module is about how blood alcohol level is related to a driver’s risk of dying in a crash. Topics include:

The Facts about Blood Alcohol Level
BAL Death Risk and Crash Responsibility
Preventing Impairment
Intervention Techniques
Avoiding Drug-Impaired Drivers

The Facts About Blood Alcohol Level

With a low BAL, drivers may be able to perform simple driving tasks such as steering and braking. However in many individuals, fine muscle control and decision-making are impaired at BALs less than the illegal limit of .08.

Alcohol begins to affect your brain with the first drink. Soon after consuming a drink, upon achieving a low BAL of .02, your ability to process information and divide your attention or multi-task begins to deteriorate. The ability to process information and multi-task continues to diminish with every drink.

Next, at a BAL of around .05, the ability to track, or maintain lane position, is affected. Impaired drivers don’t realize how they are no longer able to perform fine muscle control activities required for smooth steering. This is when an impaired driver can noticeably be detected by law enforcement or other drivers as they weave in and out of their traffic lane.

At the .05 BAL level, reaction time also begins to slow down. This is a result of the slowing brain function - it takes longer to process information and consequently it takes longer for the brain to tell the hands and feet what to do. In the event of an unexpected event, which is continuous in most driving environments, it takes longer to brake or steer out of trouble. Just as all the other driving abilities diminish as BAL rises, reaction time continues to go down as BAL goes up.
4203a_const_4lane_hwy.jpg
As BAL continues to rise, to about the .10 level, risk-taking is elevated. This is when drivers do things they would normally not do. When drivers use poor judgment and take risks, such as speeding or driving aggressively, they have exceeded a threshold that now becomes completely unsafe. At this level, the impaired driver has poor judgment combined with the inability to process information, multi-task, or maintain lane position - at .10 the impaired driver is officially reckless, careless, and a huge threat to society.

The three leading causes of fatal collisions are:

Failure to maintain lane position
Speeding
Impaired driving

One or more of these causes is often a factor in a fatal crash - tracking, risk-taking, and impairment are often linked together and result in a deadly combination.

BAL Death Risk and Crash Responsibility

As BAL increases, the risk of a fatal crash also increases. Studies have examined the chance of being in a fatal crash for drivers at various BALs.

This chart illustrates the risk of being in a fatal crash based on gender and age as BAL rises. In the chart, M=male and F=female. After age 21, there was no gender difference in risk.

An easy way to interpret the chart is a male driver, age 16-20 is five times more likely to die in a single vehicle crash with a BAL of .02 -.049 than a male sober driver of the same age.

With a BAL of .08 - .099, a female male driver age 16-20 is 15 times more likely to die in a fatal crash than a sober female the same age.

The chart shows drivers of all ages are more at risk as BAL rises. Young male drivers have the greatest risk. A male with a BAL of .08 - .099 is 52 times more likely to die.

To really demonstrate how high the risk is, let's use a sample scenario:

It’s Friday night. Two members of a winning high school football team have decided to go to a party and celebrate. Player number one celebrates without drinking or doing drugs. Player number two has several beers in a short amount of time and quickly achieves a BAL of greater than .15. Both get behind the wheel to drive home just after midnight. The chances of player number two dying in a crash are 15,560 times greater than his sober teammate.
4204_signs_markings.jpg
The time of day is also a factor that increases everyone’s risk. The most dangerous time of day is from midnight to 3:00 a.m. Even for a sober driver, the chance of being involved in a fatal collision with an impaired driver is about 50 times greater from 1:00-3:00 a.m. as it is from 7:00 a.m.-noon. According to the 2008 IIHS report, 55% of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

There is a myth that people under the influence of alcohol are less likely to be killed in a crash than non-drinkers. This is supposedly because the drinker is more “loose” and limber, but research has not shown this to be the case. A study of the effect on fatality risk at various BALs has demonstrated that as BAL rises, the chance of being killed rises.

It is possible that a driver could have a high BAL and not be responsible for a crash in which he/she was involved. However research has proven that as BAL increases, it is much more likely that a driver be in a crash and be the cause of the crash.

This fact is true for injury collisions and not just fatal collisions.


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Dark Salmon, Coral


For vain is all the toil and trouble
Vain is all the heartbreak
In the end I'll find my solace
In an earthen cradle

So good night
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Inbō Sake
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Re: Niggle shit

Post by Inbō Sake on Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:21 pm

Preventing Impairment

The best way to prevent impairment is to not drink.

There are ways to slow the absorption of alcohol, but sooner or later the alcohol that is consumed will enter the system and the BAL will be established.

Factors that prevent impairment and slow the absorption rate include food, time, the amount consumed, and the strength of alcohol in the drink.

Eating and drinking at the same time may help slow the alcohol intake. It is a good idea to eat before or while drinking because the body will be busy absorbing food and alcohol. This can slow the alcohol absorption rate by as much as one-third. Foods that are high in protein and starch are best for this purpose. Foods that are high in fat have the least impact on slowing the absorption rate.

Once a blood alcohol level has been established, time is the only thing that can reduce it. The oxidation process occurring in the liver rids the bloodstream of 90% of the alcohol present and is a constant process. This process will lower blood alcohol levels by .015 per hour for most individuals. For drugs other than alcohol, an even greater time may be necessary. Some drugs may be detectable for a period of weeks, as they are stored in fat tissue and readily detoxified by the liver.

Logically, the amount of alcohol consumed will affect the level of impairment. Consuming one drink over the time span of two hours versus drinking it quickly will still affect an individual, but the additional time gives the body an opportunity to rid itself of the alcohol and keep the BAL low. The faster it is consumed, the faster the BAL goes up. If an excessive amount is consumed, it will easily defeat the counter effects of food and time.

Alcohol content or strength of a beverage varies greatly and drinking a beverage of lower alcohol content is one deterrent to becoming impaired.

A defense plan to prevent impairment is to control the amount consumed, extend the time of consumption, and select a drink with low alcohol content.

After considering all of these factors, not drinking is still the best solution to prevent impairment.

Intervention Techniques

The best way of preventing impairment is not to drink. In this section, we will explore methods you can use to avoid being in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.

In this stage of your life, you are developing many significant and vital relationships. Who you are becoming is based on decisions, values, and principles that you believe are important. Sometimes, relationships may cause you to question some of your beliefs. This is one facet of peer pressure. Your peers can provide good “pressure” or negative “pressure.”

Examples of good peer pressure might be those that encourage safe and helpful behaviors, like suggesting that a friend not use drugs or drink at a party. Negative peer pressure would encourage someone to do something wrong, dangerous, or illegal. Often when friends encourage this type of behavior, they do not have the other person’s best interest in mind.

Maturity is the ability to be guided by your own values and beliefs, regardless of pressures from others. You are showing responsibility when you can make safe decisions for yourself and are not afraid of belittlement or possible rejection by others.

If opportunities are presented to you that are not within your beliefs and values, suggest alternative activities. For example, “Let’s go see a movie and get something to eat afterwards.” If that doesn’t work, say something like, “Hey, I know I am going to miss being with you all, but you can find me at the movies if you change your plans.”

If you are in a situation where drinks are being served, your first decision should be about your personal safety. Judgment and reasoning are the first areas affected by alcohol. All drivers, those who have been drinking as well as those who have not been drinking, share in the understanding of the hazards from drinking and driving.

Someone who has been drinking might show signs of impairment in different ways. Impaired people are not steady when walking and stumble. They also may talk loudly or have slurred speech. Often direct eye contact is difficult and other unusual behavior may be present.

Use positive peer pressure to prevent friends who have been drinking from driving. It is not wise to drive with someone who has been drinking. See if they will let you drive them home. At the very least, do not get in the car with a driver who is impaired. Call a cab or parent to come to the rescue. Try to be part of the solution - do not drink and drive. Encourage others to do the same.


Avoiding Drug-Impaired Drivers

Other drivers may operate their vehicles under the influence of drugs, and they will be sharing the road with you. Watch for indications that other drivers might be impaired:

Erratic changes in speed
Weaving from side to side
Traveling in the wrong lane
Running stop signs and lights

If you notice these driving symptoms in other drivers, their actions may be very unpredictable. It is best to distance yourself from the impaired driver. Increase the amount of space between you and the other vehicle by allowing the impaired driver to proceed ahead of you. If possible, alert the police of your observation and suspicion.

Review

Driving abilities are affected even at low BALs. Areas affected include divided attention, the ability to maintain lane position (tracking), risk-taking, reaction time, and other areas. In addition, actual driving tests in vehicles have shown significant declines in ability as BAL increases.

The chance of being involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash goes up sharply as BAL rises, and young people are particularly at risk.

The time of day as well as the day of the week significantly impact the incidence of fatal collisions resulting from impaired drivers. This relates to the driver who has been drinking as well as sober drivers.

Drinking drivers are more likely, rather than less likely, to die in a crash.

Not only are people more likely to be in a crash as BAL increases, but they are more likely to be responsible for the crash. This is true for injury collisions and fatal collisions.

4208b_crop-center-mess.jpg The best way to prevent impairment is not to drink. Factors that prevent intoxication and slow the absorption rate include food, time, the amount consumed, and the strength of alcohol in the drink.

Responsible people make positive efforts to help friends make responsible decisions about the use of alcohol and driving. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep drinking people from driving. Your first decision is to keep yourself safe in situations that involve drinking and drinking.

Watch for indications that other drivers might be impaired:

Erratic changes in speed
Weaving from side to side
Traveling in the wrong lane
Running stop signs and lights

If you notice these driving symptoms in other drivers, their actions may be very unpredictable. Distance yourself from the impaired driver. If possible, alert the police of your observation and suspicion.

Introduction

More than one in four teens who drive say they've driven impaired or on drugs. 57% of drivers age 16-20 who admitted driving after taking drugs felt that they were “not high enough to cause a crash.”

About one in eight young drivers believes using recreational drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, speed, or ecstasy does not affect their driving.

In the limited time we have to administer this course, most of the focus has been on the dangers, results, and risks associated with alcohol-impaired driving. The danger of sharing our roads with impaired drivers also includes drivers that are under the influence of other drugs.

Prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs can impair driving skills including vision, reaction time, judgment, hearing, and the ability to multi-task. Driving requires other cognitive skills such as information processing and psychomotor skills, which may also be impaired by the use of assorted drugs.

It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. Penalties include losing your license, a fine, and/or jail. Combining drug use with driving inexperience and high-risk behavior can lead to disaster on the road.


In Unit 2, we briefly introduced other drugs and how they affect the body. This module will address the most commonly abused illegal and prescription drugs and how they impact driving performance. The topics that will be covered include:

Research Related to Other Drugs and Driving
Marijuana and Driving
Cocaine and Driving
Depressants and Amphetamines
Is Any Drug Safe to Take and Drive?

Research Related to Other Drugs and Driving
4303a_other_drugs.jpg
A vast amount of research has been conducted on the effects of alcohol impaired driving. Methods of measuring BAL and the ability to identify alcohol-impaired drivers have become a relatively accurate science. Not as much research has been dedicated to determining the effects of other drugs on the ability to operate a vehicle. However, we know what drugs do to the body and that many people take drugs and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

There are statistics that show drivers are on the road under the influence of mind- and body-altering substances.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed a survey and report to present data on driving following drug use, an area in which previous research is limited.

In-home personal interviews with 11,847 respondents age 16 and older represented over 166 million drivers in the United States. The 166 million drivers represent only those drivers who reported driving within two hours of drug and/or alcohol use.


Driving After Drug Use

A majority (68%) of licensed teen drivers who use drugs regularly report that they “drug and drive.”
28% (46.5 million people) reported driving within two hours after drug or alcohol use.
5% (9 million people) drove after drug use, with or without alcohol.
23% (38 million people) drove after alcohol use only.


Characteristics of Drivers Who Drove After Drug Use

Driving after drug use was more common among drivers who were:

Young (13% for those age 16-20 vs. 5% for those age 21 and older),
Male (7% vs. 4% for females),
Never married (11% vs. 3% for those who were married), and
Unemployed (11% vs. 6% for those employed full-time).


4303c_drugs_blurred_vision_night.jpg Marijuana was the illicit drug used most often by drivers who drove after drug use (used by 70% of those who drove after drug use).

Among those who reported driving after using marijuana:

The majority reported heavy or weekly use in the past year (60%).
More than half claimed that the marijuana use did not at all affect their ability to drive safely (56%).
More than half perceived that they were no more likely to be stopped by police when driving after marijuana use than when sober.

A large majority of those who drove after the use of tranquilizers and sedatives (84% and 71%, respectively) drove following the medical use of these drugs. In contrast, only 43% of those who drove after the use of stimulants used these drugs for medical purposes. Driving after drug use most commonly occurred on smaller roads (55%), in urban areas (56%), on the weekend (67%), and usually began between 6:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. (49%). The data indicates that even if you are not taking drugs and driving, many people are. Drugged drivers are under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, sedatives, and speed. If you do not take drugs and drive, it is still critical that you understand you need to be alert to drivers who are erratic, speed, and seem to be unable to maintain lane position. Drive defensively, especially when driving at night or in an environment that might have a high risk of drugged drivers in your midst (6).

Cocaine and Driving

Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. Nearly one percent of Americans are currently using cocaine. Users can be from all economic statuses, all ages, and all genders.

Cocaine creates a strong sense of exhilaration. Users generally feel invincible, carefree, alert, euphoric, and have a lot of energy. This is usually followed by agitation, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and decreased appetite. The effects of cocaine generally last about two hours.

Cocaine is a potent and dangerous drug. The short-term and long-term effects of cocaine are equally dangerous.

The following effects of cocaine may have a dramatic impact on driving ability:

Blurred vision
Dilated pupils
High anxiety
Irritability
Violent behavior
Vomiting
Hallucinations
Chest pain
Constricted blood vessels
Seizure
Cardiac arrest

The most dramatic effects of cocaine and driving are on vision. Cocaine may cause higher sensitivity to light, halos around bright objects, and difficulty focusing.

There is an increase in impulsive behavior and tendencies to take more risks. It also creates confusion in the user’s brain. A person using cocaine has the illusion of being alert and stimulated although physical reactions are impaired.

Cocaine users are often stopped for speeding. When a user has elevated feelings of well-being, it can lead to an overestimation of driving ability. This can lead to risk-taking behaviors such as trying to beat the light as it changes to red. When coming down, users are often irritable, anxious, or agitated, which may lead to aggressive behavior toward drivers they find aggravating.

The long-term effects of using cocaine can include heart disease, heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, and gastrointestinal problems.

The danger of experiencing cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory failure is equal in both short- and long-term cocaine abuse.

Impaired sight, impulsive behavior, and confusion are compounded with the risk of a heart attack or seizure behind the wheel.

Depressants and Amphetamines


Central Nervous System Depressants

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants slow down the central nervous system. The nervous system is the control center for your body. It controls the ability to taste, smell, see, hear, think, and breathe. It controls your ability to steer, brake, and accelerate the vehicle. Your brain uses information it receives from your nerves to coordinate all of your actions and reactions. When this system is slowed down, so are all of the functions essential for safe driving.

Depressants are powerful and classified as sedative/hypnotics. Sedative/hypnotics are medically prescribed to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, and tension, and to help prevent or mitigate epileptic seizures. Certain sedative/hypnotics are also used to induce anesthesia for short surgical procedures or at the beginning of longer ones.

Besides having therapeutic uses, depressants are often used for their intoxicating effects. Some people take them in addition to alcohol, or as a substitute.

Barbiturates are among the most widely used depressant drugs (medically and non-medically) in our society, and are the toxic agents in thousands of accidental or intentional deaths annually in North America.

When driving under the influence of a sedative/hypnotic, there is a high risk of drowsiness and fatigue. Drowsiness affects your senses, especially your vision. The CNS drugs sedate your eye muscles and vision can become blurred. Reaction time is slowed and so is the ability to make quick decisions. This could result in a driver not seeing a light change or not noticing a child in the street in time to stop the vehicle. When driving at night, it may be difficult to see a curve ahead or an oncoming car in the lane ahead when passing. The possible scenarios are impossible to list - but each could result in elevated risk of a potential crash.


Amphetamines

Amphetamines, like adrenaline, affect not only the brain but also the heart, lungs, and many other organs. Short-term effects appear soon after a single dose and disappear within a few hours or days.
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At low doses, such as those prescribed medically, physical effects include loss of appetite, rapid breathing and heartbeat, high blood pressure, and dilated pupils. Larger doses may produce fever, sweating, headache, blurred vision, and dizziness. And very high doses may cause flushing, pallor, very rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination, and collapse. Deaths have been reported as a direct result of amphetamine use. Some have occurred as a consequence of burst blood vessels in the brain, heart failure, or very high fever.

The psychological effects of short-term use include a feeling of well-being and great alertness and energy. With increased doses, users may become talkative, restless, and excited, and may feel a sense of power and superiority. They may also behave in a bizarre, repetitive fashion. Many become hostile and aggressive.

It is unsafe to drive after using amphetamines. They reduce coordination and affect the ability to judge speed and distance. Amphetamines also increase a person's confidence so they are more likely to take dangerous risks.

The only real predictable thing about a drug and how an individual will respond to a drug is it is NOT predictable - this is especially true for illegal or illicit drugs because they are not regulated and can contain dangerous unknown substances.

4307_drugs_assorted.jpg The effects of any drug depend on several factors:

The amount taken at one time
How the drug is consumed
The user’s past drug experience
The circumstances under which the drug is taken such as the simultaneous use of alcohol or other drugs, etc.

If you are taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, always read the label and follow the precaution if it indicates to not operate heavy machinery. Warning labels are there for a good reason.

If you are with a driver under the influence of illegal drugs, intervene - “friends don’t let friends drive drugged” and be sure to find alternative transportation if you are a passenger.

It is not possible to go through every drug and its possible effects on the ability to drive in this course. Reference the chart below for an indication of common drugs and their effects of the ability to operate a vehicle safely.

Review

The data indicates that even if you are not taking drugs and driving, many people are. Drugged drivers are under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, sedatives, and speed. Even if you do not take drugs and drive, it is still critical that you understand you need to be alert to drivers who are erratic, speed, and seem to be unable to maintain lane position. Drive defensively especially when driving at night or in an environment that might have a high risk of drugged drivers in your midst.
4308_drugs_combo.jpg
Although there has been much research on the effects of alcohol’s impairment while driving, not as much has been dedicated to determining the effects of other drugs on driving skills. However, we are aware of the effect of drugs on the body and that many people take drugs and then get behind the wheel of a car to drive.

According to various studies and reports, driving after drug use was more common among drivers who were under the age of 20 years, were male, never married, and unemployed.

Marijuana was the illicit drug most often used by drivers who drove after drug use (70%). Research shows that smoking marijuana affects focus, concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction time; many of the skills required for safe driving. The use of the drug can make it harder for a driver to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road. Marijuana is also mind altering. Thinking and reflexes are slowed, causing difficulty in responding to sudden unexpected events.

Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. Users can be from all economic statuses, all ages, and all genders.

Cocaine creates a strong sense of exhilaration. Users generally feel invincible, carefree, alert, euphoric, and have a lot of energy. This is usually followed by agitation, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

Cocaine is a potent and dangerous drug. The short-term and long-term effects of cocaine are equally dangerous for driving ability. Cocaine users are often stopped for speeding. When a user has elevated feelings of well-being it can lead to an overestimation of driving ability. This can lead to risk-taking behaviors, such as trying to beat the light as it changes to red. When coming down, users are often irritable, anxious, or agitated, which may lead to aggressive behavior toward drivers they find aggravating.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants slow down the central nervous system, the control center for your body. This center manages your ability to steer, brake, and accelerate the vehicle. Your brain uses information it receives from your nerves to coordinate all of your actions and reactions. When this system is slowed down, so are all of the functions essential for safe driving.

Depressants are powerful and classified as sedative/hypnotics. Sedative/hypnotics are medically prescribed to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, and tension, and to help prevent or mitigate epileptic seizures. Depressants are often used for their intoxicating effects. Some people take them in addition to alcohol, or as a substitute.

When driving under the influence of a sedative/hypnotic, there is a high risk of drowsiness and fatigue. Drowsiness affects your senses, especially your vision. Reaction time is slowed and so is the ability to make quick decisions.

It is unsafe to drive after using amphetamines. Their use reduces coordination and affects the ability to judge speed and distance. Amphetamines also increase a person's confidence so they are more likely to take dangerous risks. Amphetamines, like adrenaline, affect not only the brain but also the heart, lungs, and many other organs.

The only real predictable thing about a drug and how an individual will respond to a drug is that it is NOT predictable - this is especially true for illegal or illicit drugs because they are not regulated and can contain dangerous unknown substances.

If you are taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, always read the label and follow the precaution if it indicates to not operate heavy machinery. Your vehicle is heavy machinery!

If you are with a driver under the influence of illegal drugs, intervene - “friends don’t let friends drive drugged” and be sure to find alternative transportation if you are a passenger.

Review

The data indicates that even if you are not taking drugs and driving, many people are. Drugged drivers are under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, sedatives, and speed. Even if you do not take drugs and drive, it is still critical that you understand you need to be alert to drivers who are erratic, speed, and seem to be unable to maintain lane position. Drive defensively especially when driving at night or in an environment that might have a high risk of drugged drivers in your midst.
4308_drugs_combo.jpg
Although there has been much research on the effects of alcohol’s impairment while driving, not as much has been dedicated to determining the effects of other drugs on driving skills. However, we are aware of the effect of drugs on the body and that many people take drugs and then get behind the wheel of a car to drive.

According to various studies and reports, driving after drug use was more common among drivers who were under the age of 20 years, were male, never married, and unemployed.

Marijuana was the illicit drug most often used by drivers who drove after drug use (70%). Research shows that smoking marijuana affects focus, concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction time; many of the skills required for safe driving. The use of the drug can make it harder for a driver to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road. Marijuana is also mind altering. Thinking and reflexes are slowed, causing difficulty in responding to sudden unexpected events.

Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. Users can be from all economic statuses, all ages, and all genders.

Cocaine creates a strong sense of exhilaration. Users generally feel invincible, carefree, alert, euphoric, and have a lot of energy. This is usually followed by agitation, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

Cocaine is a potent and dangerous drug. The short-term and long-term effects of cocaine are equally dangerous for driving ability. Cocaine users are often stopped for speeding. When a user has elevated feelings of well-being it can lead to an overestimation of driving ability. This can lead to risk-taking behaviors, such as trying to beat the light as it changes to red. When coming down, users are often irritable, anxious, or agitated, which may lead to aggressive behavior toward drivers they find aggravating.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants slow down the central nervous system, the control center for your body. This center manages your ability to steer, brake, and accelerate the vehicle. Your brain uses information it receives from your nerves to coordinate all of your actions and reactions. When this system is slowed down, so are all of the functions essential for safe driving.

Depressants are powerful and classified as sedative/hypnotics. Sedative/hypnotics are medically prescribed to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, and tension, and to help prevent or mitigate epileptic seizures. Depressants are often used for their intoxicating effects. Some people take them in addition to alcohol, or as a substitute.

When driving under the influence of a sedative/hypnotic, there is a high risk of drowsiness and fatigue. Drowsiness affects your senses, especially your vision. Reaction time is slowed and so is the ability to make quick decisions.

It is unsafe to drive after using amphetamines. Their use reduces coordination and affects the ability to judge speed and distance. Amphetamines also increase a person's confidence so they are more likely to take dangerous risks. Amphetamines, like adrenaline, affect not only the brain but also the heart, lungs, and many other organs.

The only real predictable thing about a drug and how an individual will respond to a drug is that it is NOT predictable - this is especially true for illegal or illicit drugs because they are not regulated and can contain dangerous unknown substances.

If you are taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, always read the label and follow the precaution if it indicates to not operate heavy machinery. Your vehicle is heavy machinery!

If you are with a driver under the influence of illegal drugs, intervene - “friends don’t let friends drive drugged” and be sure to find alternative transportation if you are a passenger.


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Dark Salmon, Coral


For vain is all the toil and trouble
Vain is all the heartbreak
In the end I'll find my solace
In an earthen cradle

So good night
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