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Study suggests there's more to unsafe driving than BAC level

Whether a person gets arrested and charged with drunk driving often depends on a particular test. Sure, Tennessee authorities will ask a driver questions and perhaps have him or her perform some field sobriety tests. But there is one test that tends to secure a DUI charge, and that is the blood alcohol or a breath test.

A recent study about how alcohol impacts a driver's ability behind the wheel takes the idea that alcohol is a traffic safety hazard even further. It is natural to assume that a driver with a BAC level reportedly above the legal limit of 0.08 is a danger. What about the next day, though?

If traffic safety risk is an argument for criminal laws, then studies out of Australia could support legislative attempts to create laws against driving while hung-over. Two separate studies showed that drivers who had been drunk the night before woke up sober, but still not quite in driving shape.

Drivers battling hangovers exhibited slower reaction times and poor decision-making behind the wheel. Overall, they exhibited signs of driver fatigue due to the physiological effects that alcohol has on a person's system. Are hung-over drivers more or less dangerous than drunk drivers? No one could definitively say. What we can say is that, for now, it is DWI charges that Tennessee drivers have to worry about, not hung-over while driving charges.

Impairment is relative. Sometimes, officials will make their own judgement calls, calls that a DUI defense attorney could possibly find holes in. Anyone who is facing drunk driving charges should seek the counsel of a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Source: Medical Daily, "Driving With A Hangover Just As Dangerous As Drunk Driving, With Equal Fatigue, Slow Reaction Times," Chris Weller, Dec. 9, 2013

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