Everyone knows the cardinal rule when it comes to drinking and driving. Don’t do it. Yet what exactly defines drunk driving in the state of Illinois? What’s the legal limit? How does it affect our abilities once we are behind the wheel of a car? Perhaps it’s time to remind ourselves why we shouldn’t drink alcohol and then operate a motor vehicle.
How Drunk Driving Is Legally Defined
In Illinois, as well as the rest of the United States, you are considered alcohol-impaired if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. It is illegal for an individual to be operating a vehicle with a BAC this high.
Depending upon your weight and the time in which the alcohol is consumed, two beers might push someone over the 0.08 limit. Therefore, it is safer to abstain from drinking before getting behind the wheel of a car or truck.
However, it is important to note there are exceptions to the 0.08 rule. For any individuals under the age of 21, there is a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving. Commercial drivers, such as truckers, are considered legally drunk if their blood alcohol concentration is over 0.04.
How Does Drinking Impair Your Ability to Drive?
There are many ways that alcohol impacts one’s ability to drive. Driving under the influence affects one’s:
Reaction time- Alcohol slows reflexes, which makes driving and maneuvering difficult
Vision- The eye muscles are weakened when an individual is under the influence, which can cause blurred vision
Coordination- This can decrease your ability to judge where you are in regards to the road and other cars
Comprehension- Alcohol can lower one’s ability to think and make rational decisions
Concentration- Driving under the influence can cause drowsiness and a decrease in the ability to pay attention
Illinois Drunk Driving Statistics
The statistics are sobering. In 1997, our state enacted the 0.08 law in regard to driving while under the influence. In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded that 9,926 fatal injuries due to alcohol involved accidents. Additionally, 21% of drivers involved in these fatal accidents had a BAC above .08.
With 30 fatal injuries per day related to drunk driving accidents, it is imperative to ensure you are alert while driving and follow the laws regarding alcohol impairment.
How Many People Are Arrested for DUIs in Illinois?
In the year 2016, approximately 30,000 people were arrested for DUIs in our state. While we already know driving under the influence is wrong, sometimes we forget the repercussions associated with this deed.
What are the Penalties for Drunk Driving in Illinois?
When a person is in a car accident with a drunk driver, they may be entitled to pursue compensation for punitive damages. Punitive damages are a means to deter someone from committing an act of negligence again. The negligent person will essentially pay more than just what is required for the injured party to get back to where they were prior.
Under Illinois law, a person can seek punitive damages for either:
- Bodily injury
- Physical damage to property
- Product liability based on strict tort liability
The court will consider all the facts and determine if the injured party or physical damage to property was so great that extra compensation is required.
There is never an excuse to step behind the wheel of a car after having too much to drink. If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered a fatality due to drunk driving, contact us at Panio Law Offices. We will help you resolve your case and seek compensation for the injuries that you sustained.
Contact our firm today at (312) 313-0305 to discuss your case today.