Alcohol is dominant depressant drug just like an anesthetic, sedative, hypnotic or a tranquillizer, and it can slow down the brain and body functions. Alcohol affects the vital component of the mind and when brain cortex is freed from the usual functions of controlling and integrating, the processes that are related to judgment occur in disorganized fashion, which is the disruption of the behavioral tasks (Mattila, Mauri & Esok, 2010). Alcohol can be absorbed into the human bloodstream, and then quickly travels to the entire part of the body system, including the mind. Alcohol can also affect the mind’s ability to make judgments and ability to process the information. It can impair vision and consciousness in the human brain. Alcohol can reduce the ability of decision-making and can cause so many accidents while driving, hence, it affects the human’s ability to make any judgment. If you take alcohol, tea, coffee or any soft drink will not sober you but time will only sober you up. If you can take alcohol and then drive, you may face difficulties that include the following:
- The ability to make judgment on the speed of your vehicle while driving
- The ability to judge distance in your car and the other cars
- The ability to notice the pedestrians and traffic lights
- The ability to focus on the driving task
- The ability to note the balance, especially when you are riding a motorcycle
- The state of being awake while driving, and the sense of reacting appropriately while doing things, especially when something unexpected occurs.
Alcohol can also give a sense of false confidence. It can make a person take more risks than follow the normal way of thinking or doing things or remembering; alcohol can slow down your way of reacting towards things or can lead you to the state of mind when you cannot even react at all.
Mental process is a state of mind when a person is able to think and make any decisions or judgments. The effects of alcohol can damage human brain and, as a consequence, mental state of the mind. The scientific research has examined that alcohol affects the brain functioning, such as an ability to monitor your own behavior when there is a need to respond to an external feedback. Alcohol consumption can cause depression to an individual. When large amount of alcohol is consumed, it can lead to road accidents while driving because of lack of straight thinking. It becomes apparent that it is dangerous to many addicted individuals. However, the symptoms of depression might disappear or decrease during alcohol self-denial or owing to moderate consumption of the alcoholic beverages.
The common sense that controls the eye activities is extremely vulnerable to alcohol consumption. While driving, the eyes should stay in focus on important objects in visually manner and track while the vehicle is moving. The blood alcohol content as low as 0.03 to 0.05 percent may interfere with the voluntary movements of eyes, impairing the ability to rapidly follow a moving object or a vehicle. The sensitive part in driving performance can be the division of concentration among the component skills. Drivers always should maintain their vehicles in the proper direction and lane while monitoring the environment for the vital safety data, such as pedestrians, other vehicles and traffic signals. Alcohol-impaired drivers that are required to divide their attention between the two tasks tend to support a single of them. For that reason, alcohol-impaired drivers are likely to concentrate on the steering, becoming vigilant with respect to safety information.
Alcohol can also damage individual brain and memory function. After only a small number of alcoholic drinks, the processes of human brain slow down, causing an individual memory to impair. Heavy consumption of alcohol can direct to blackout or short-term failure of memory. Drinking alcohol heavily in a lengthy period can have a long-term effect on memory. Alcohol can affect many parts of brain so that the mind does not restore much of its perception. When driving, the mental process of a human should be in a proper state of mind to avoid accidents. Alcohol reduces the ability of the mind to see objects or vehicles, and the night vision can decrease by about 25 percent. The double vision and blurred vision can also occur while driving the vehicle. The ability to see what is going on within the roadside can be difficult, hence, it causes many accidents in the road while driving. Alcohol can also create a sense of overconfidence with the people around. For that reason, an individual should be prepared to take risks since the state of thinking is not proper, making it dangerous to the driver and passengers.
After drinking alcohol, brain does not work effectively and efficiently; it takes longer time to receive information or messages at once: the processing of the information flow slows down and it decreases ability to work or perform two or even more tasks at the same time. The effects of alcohol can damage the brain system. For example, alcohol can impair the driving abilities of a person, both instinctive and conscious. The visual judgment of a drunk person can cause accidents. The steering, distance, night vision, braking ability and reaction time can be interfered due to person’s unsteady mental state of mind, which causes reckless driving.
The physical effects of alcohol on drivers depend on the amount of alcohol consumed and how the individual can tolerate it. The effects of alcohol consumption can be short-term, ranging from an irritating behavior to illness or even death. Alcoholic beverages’ moderate consumption, for instance, no more than two drinks, can impair cognitive capability of straight thinking, leading to unfortunate judgment. Alcohol can also slow down inhibitions, which can cause behavioral changes. An addict becomes talkative and outgoing, as well as he engages in sexual relationship in those situations when one would not act being sober-minded.
An example of the physical alcoholic effects can be failure to coordinate and react when there is an emergency while driving a car or any type of the vehicle. Anyone who had as little as two drinks or even one drink may feel capable to drive. Yet, their mental abilities and their reflexes are being compromised by alcohol consumption. This is a primary problem of road accidents in the USA that caused about 40% of all the accidents. The alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream at a very high rate depending on how many drinks you have had in the specific period of time, as well as the amount and type of food you have eaten before or after drinking alcoholic beverages. For example, alcohol will normally be absorbed slowly into the bloodstream of an individual who has been eating foods with high fats and carbohydrates, but a person who has not eaten fats and carbohydrates will tend to get drunk easily because the alcohol is absorbed faster into the bloodstream. Also, the alcoholic beverages like champagne will be absorbed faster (Ogden & Moskowitz, 2004).
Usually, people may experience the effects of alcohol within ten minutes and the blood alcohol content is experienced within maximum of four to sixty minutes after having a drink. The blood alcohol content will remain stable until the liver can be able to metabolize alcohol of one drink per hour. The short-term physical effects of alcoholic drinks on the human beings are as follows:
Poor Coordination. The most noticeablephysical effect of alcoholic drinks is the slurred speech. In addition, the short-term physical effect is the inability to judge or think clearly and loss of coordination. The ability to coordinate will strictly affect the ability to react on time. The motor skills will impair the coordination of an individual. The results of impaired coordination can easily cause accidents while driving because it interferes with the driving abilities.
Tracking. Alcohol reduces the ability to observe the moving cars while driving on the road, and also makes it difficult to see the location of the other vehicles and road signs. The ability to visualize vehicles on the road is affected by alcoholic beverages; this causes lack of judgment when analyzing distance and speed of the moving vehicles, hence, accidents occur on the road.
Comprehension. Alcohol drinking hinders the ability of the mind to make any rational decisions. This affects the usual thinking of human being and causes many accidents on the road due to lack of proper decision-making. Distorted comprehension also affects the use of the road signs and gives wrong information on its appliance.
Lowered Inhibitions. Alcohol changes individual behavior whereby it becomes noticeable as more alcoholic drinks are consumed in the body. The physical effect of it includes the tendency of engaging in a behavior that is not appropriate. It includes driving under influence of the alcohol, sexual promiscuity, violence and illegal use of drugs.
Nausea Sickness. Alcohol can be poisonous when the consumption is very high. Vomiting can be an option to get rid of the excess alcohol in the body. It happens many times when a person who has been engaged in drinking feels nauseous since the sense of balance in the body has been interfered by the alcohol. The driving ability is interfered because the driver may feel like vomiting when driving. It is another danger of probable accidents on the road.
Hangovers and Headaches. It is a short-term effect that is under the influence of alcohol. It is assumed to occur the next day after drinking alcoholic beverages. Hangover can also be felt when a person is dehydrated due too much consumption of alcoholic drinks. Headaches are signs of superfluous alcoholic intake. These consequences interfere with the driving ability due to the pain felt in the head, which creates a high risk of road accidents.
Blackout and Loss of Memory. Brain function is affected by the consumption of alcohol. The more there is alcohol in the body, the higher is the risk that people may experience loss of memory because the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstreams and it is transported to the brain, causing loss of memory. The results of this can be terrible since a person may wake up not remembering anything about her actions. The results of the blackouts can be road accidents because a driver may fall asleep while driving or even forget the skills to drive.
Coma. When there is an excess of alcohol in the body or the concentration is high, a person is likely to experience a serious risk of entering a comatose state. Many people who enter into a coma may never recover, which is extremely dangerous. This can also cause high risk in respiratory system or even death. The driving abilities may be disrupted because of the person’s experience of a comatose state.
Stupor. If the blood alcohol concentration is higher than 0.40, an individual may experience a serious trouble. A person is likely to experience disorientation, incoordination and confusion. The muscular system functions and the brain are going to be dangerously impaired. The long-term effect of alcohol drinking can cause physical effects, such as the obesity, diabetes, liver disease, sleep disorders, heart damage, risk of unborn babies, sexual impotence and reduced fertility, brain damage, stroke, memory problem, and other health risk issues.
Social Implication of Drunk Driving
Drunk driving can be a very scary situation; even the sober drivers can also make mistakes while driving and get into accidents on the road. In 2006, people were killed due to the high consumption of alcohol of .0.8 and higher percent, the blood alcohol content caused harm to many and the 13,470 fatalities in crashes involved a driver who was alcohol-impaired. There were lethal cases among 16,005 United States’ citizens due to excessive consumption of alcohol. Not every person realizes the effects of alcohol, which makes you sense different states of mind. At first, an individual may appear talkative, more confident and relaxed, but then inhibitions are reduced, speech becomes slurred, movements and judgments are disturbed. After that, a person may become sleepy or apathetic. The worst that may happen because of alcohol abuse is coma and even death. Therefore, the effects of alcohol drinking contribute to such consequences and it affects the normal state of human being.
Violence. It can also be an effect of drunk driving. For example, the police and the driver might quarrel or argue due to the reckless driving, and this can lead to accidents since the driver might want to escape the punishment for high consumption of alcohol. Alcohol drinking affects the social life of an individual whereby it causes poor judgment of objects or vehicles while driving. Most of the effects of alcoholic beverages can provoke worsening or loss of an individual’s memory. This is very dangerous while driving because the driver can fall asleep or can see all the objects blurred.
In traffic enforcement, alcohol intake concentration in a subject's breathing depends on a hand-held mechanism. When the course of action is performed appropriately, the measured alcohol breath concentration reflects the blood alcohol content (BAC), and this can be linked with induced alcohol impairment without an interference from any alcohol billows contaminating a mouth. An objection included has raised validity of the blood alcohol content (BAC) or alcohol breath as the indicator of the impairment of the alcohol. The level of the alcohol impairment is associated with the given BAC, it is not constant but may vary amongst individuals. This can be partly explained by the phenomenon of the tolerance.
Tolerance can be defined as the decrease of the magnitude of any effect of given dose of any drug following repeated exposure of its use. Thus, many experienced drinkers may show less impairment than very experienced drinkers in a wide range of blood alcohol content (BAC's) in the tests of the intellectual function, motor coordination and sensory perception. Alcohol poses more severe risk for the younger drivers because they do have comparatively tiny experience of tolerance towards their addiction. The blood alcohol content is determined by the quantity of the alcohol taken. The common practices have been estimated by the subject's blood alcohol content (BAC) based on the standard equations of the rate in which the alcohol leaves the human body. However, factors that can influence the elimination of the alcohol vary significantly. Calculations can also be based on the average elimination of rates for populations that can ascend to significant error when it is applied to the individuals. The disadvantages of blood alcohol content’s (BAC) indicator of the impairment have encouraged research on the devices that can be a direct sign of impairment. Giving the example, both the private industry and National Transportation Highway Safety Administration have developed explosion interlock systems, which can prevent the use of vehicles by an impaired people. The systems require to be performed for a brief (20- to 30-second) mission to test response time, visual tracking, short-term memory, or measures of psychomotor coordination. The performance of the tasks has been shown to associate reasonably well with the actual driving performance (or simulated) without reference to source of impairment.
The effects of excessive consumption of alcohol can cause a serious damage to human being. Although alcohol consumption appears to be a single issue, it affects various dimensions, which include social concerns, alcohol abuse and reckless driving. The most evident consequences influence the mental state of the mind, physical processes and the social behavior when driving. Countermeasures differ widely from one country to another country, but normally aim to convince public not to drive and drink. Initiatives can divide four broad groups into sanctions, policies, public education and enforcement. Measures applied and chosen in a specified country have to achieve the maintenance of both the public and the government. With no governmental commitment, proceedings aiming to avoid impaired driving can include insignificant long-term or positive sustainable effect. As the difficulty of driving and drinking affects the society at a wide range, it requires cooperation from many disciplines and sectors to solve this issue. The government should put more efforts by dint of education, enforcement and legislation in a way that can help to control road accidents through companies, which produce alcoholic beverages. These problems should be addressed to the various institutions and community-based organizations to help in reducing the road accidents and prevent excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.