Unit 4 Understanding and Avoiding Hazardous Substances Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. 280 Alcohol Use and Accidents Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, which affects the body in various ways. Figure 9.8 shows some of these effects. These include a decrease in reaction time, difficulty coordinating movements, and a decreased ability to plan and use good judgment. As a result, people who have been drinking are more likely to engage in unsafe behaviors that often cause accidents. Motor Vehicle Accidents In every state, there are laws to prevent driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Despite this fact, driving after alcohol use leads to many deaths in the United States (Figure 9.9). In fact, over 10,000 people die each year in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. Therefore, a young person should never get in a car with a driver who is intoxicated. People who drink and drive can face legal consequences for their actions. Adults who drive with a BAC of 0.08 or above are driving under the influence (DUI), which is against the law. In some states, this may also be called driving while intoxicated (DWI). If a driver receives a DUI or DWI, his or her license may be suspended, or taken away for several months. This driver may also have to pay a fine, perform community service, or spend time in jail. Alcohol’s Effects on the Central Nervous System When alcohol slows down the nervous system, the body experiences • decreased reaction time • difficulty coordinating movements • decreased ability to plan or problem solve • decreased use of good judgment BlueRingMedia/Shutterstock.com Figure 9.8 As alcohol filters into the brain and bloodstream, it affects a person’s ability to think and move quickly and correctly. More than Drunk Driving 30% of car accident deaths are caused by Glass and keys: iStock.com/dehooks Figure 9.9 Because of alcohol’s effects on the body’s reflexes, motor skills, and alertness, driving after drinking alcohol frequently results in deadly car accidents. What is the legal term for a person who has consumed too much alcohol before driving a vehicle?