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What happens as blood alcohol concentration increases?

You probably know that the blood alcohol concentration limit in North Carolina is 0.08, as it is all across the country. However, to understand why that limit is in place, it's important to know what happens as your BAC increases.

-- By just 0.02, you may feel slightly warm and relaxed, and your ability to track movement with your eyes can slightly decrease. It can also be a little harder to multitask, something you're often doing while driving -- staying between the lines and watching your speed, for example.

-- By 0.05, muscle control can diminish, which can make it harder to drive a car. Your overall coordination can also drop, and certain behaviors may be exaggerated. You may not feel as alert, and emergency situations could be harder to respond to. For example, if a car stops suddenly in front of you, you may not respond fast enough to avoid hitting it.

-- By 0.08, many skills falls from slightly impaired to "poor." These include muscle coordination, reaction time, balance, speech, and judgement. You may not detect danger as easily. It's harder to concentrate on things, and your short-term memory may be impaired. Perhaps most importantly, it becomes harder to process information around you. This can make it hard to respond to traffic signals, read the traffic around you, and notice anything unexpected, such as a pedestrian crossing the road.

As you can see, drinking and driving can massively increase the odds of an accident by reducing the skills needed to drive a vehicle. If you've been injured by a drunk driver in North Carolina, you may be able to seek compensation.

Source: MADD, "Understanding .08," accessed July 01, 2016

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