Impaired Driving and Its Consequences

Dec 18, 2019 8:00:00 AM / by Providence Recovery Services

Daily, 29 people in the United States die from motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. Driving after more than a few drinks or using drugs is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly. 

Continue reading to fully understand the importance of impaired driving, its consequences and how Providence Recovery can help you receive the right addiction treatment. 


Your liver can process about one drink an hour, and typically, one drink is acknowledged as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of whiskey. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), there is an average of one death every 50 minutes due to alcohol-related car crashes. Additionally, drugs not including alcohol, both legal and illegal, are involved in about 16 percent of motor vehicle accidents. 

Impaired Driving and Its Consequences

Each state has laws that make it illegal to drive when impaired, yet drunk driving continues to be a leading cause of traffic injuries and deaths in states like Colorado. Between 2013 and 2019, the state of Colorado ranked 45th for alcohol-related deaths, with more than 900 people killed.

So do we have a big problem on our hands when it comes to impaired driving? Yes. Is there something we can do about it? Also, yes.


A BAC test measures the amount of alcohol content in your bloodstream. Police officers use a breathalyzer for suspected drunk drivers. The test is valuable to find out if you are:
  • Drinking and driving.
  • Legally drunk.
  • Drinking while in a treatment program prohibiting drug use.
  • Experiencing alcohol poisoning. 

In the United States, an impaired driver is classified as an individual who obtains a BAC higher than or equal to 0.08 percent. The CDC provides the following information regarding the BAC level for those under the influence while driving:

.02 percent BAC
  • Decline in visual functions
  • Reduced capacity to perform two tasks at the same time

.05 percent BAC

  • Reduced coordination
  • Reduced ability to track moving objects
  • Difficulty steering
  • Reduced response to emergency driving situations

.08 percent BAC

  • Lack of concentration
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Speed control
  • Reduced information processing capability
  • Impaired perception 

.10 percent BAC

  • Reduced ability to manage lane position and brake

.15 percent BAC

  • Inability to control the vehicle with a significant lack of attention span
  • Drastic decline in necessary visual and auditory information processing


Who is more at risk of being involved in an impaired driving incident? Younger people between ages 21 to 44, motorcyclists and those drivers with prior driving while impaired (DWI) convictions. The Governors Highway Safety Association states that many drunk drivers are repeat offenders.

Below are severe consequences of impaired driving: 

  • License Suspension: Getting a DUI increases the chances of your license to be suspended. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may delay your license if a chemical test shows that you drove with a BAC of .08 percent or higher. More legal implications can come from impaired driving, like getting it revoked permanently. 
  • Going to Jail: There may be mandatory jail time for a first DUI conviction and can last from one day to one week. 
  • Fines: There usually are fines and fees associated with a DUI, with the minimum being $500. 
  • Ignition Interlock Devices (IID): IIDs are an alcohol-detecting machine that attaches to the car's ignition system. When the driver starts the vehicle, the device will ask for breath samples randomly. If the alcohol content is detected, the device will record the positive test and notify the court or probation department. Some states, including Colorado, require IIDs for first-offense DUIs only when the driver's BAC was .15 percent or higher.
  • Charged with a Misdemeanor: A first-time DUI is likely to be charged with a misdemeanor
  • Charged with a Felony: An individual who critically injures or kills a person when under the influence will be charged with a felony. Some states also charge individuals with felonies even for first-time offenses if they have a high BAC.
  • Increased Car Insurance Cost: Getting DUI offenses on your record end up paying higher premiums for car insurance compared to those with clean records. Many insurance companies can drop you if you are perceived as a high-risk customer. 
  • Probation Period: Following your conviction of a DUI, you may get on a probation period, which can become costly.
  • Stays on Your Record: A DUI can stay on your record and affect aspects of your life from job hunting, college applications, military admittance and more. This offense will be apparent in your background checks, as well.


There are laws against driving while impaired in all states across the United States. Various strategies and campaigns are being used to aid in the discouragement of further impaired driving. 

Other forms of prevention for impaired driving include, but aren't limited to: 

What else can you do to help? 
  • Before drinking, choose a driver for the group who will not be drinking. 
  • Don't let your friends drive impaired. 
  • Get a ride home if you have been drinking, don't drive yourself.


Don't drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Make smart decisions and help those around you do the same. If addiction treatment is needed to improve the quality of yours or a loved one's life, let Providence Recovery help you get back to a life you like.


Our team at Providence Recovery provides patient-center addiction treatment for both men and women. Located in Craig, Colorado, our programs are designed to encourage positive and lasting recovery.

Providence Recovery provides the following treatment programs for individuals needing addiction recovery:

As our clients progress through their addiction treatment, they receive an added layer of support in an evidenced-based and supportive environment that makes it possible for them to enjoy their new, sober lifestyle.

Click below to download our FREE Caring for a Loved One in Addiction Guidebook: 


Tags: Addiction Treatment, drug abuse, drunk driving

Providence Recovery Services

Written by Providence Recovery Services

At Providence Recovery, we are a patient-centered addiction treatment facility located in Craig, Colorado striving to make an effort to empower our patients.