Driving While Intoxicated

Topics: Brain, Visual perception, Alcoholic beverage Pages: 1 (295 words) Published: August 14, 2006
Driving While Intoxicated
The role alcohol plays in our society is confusing. Alcohol is medically classified as a depressant drug. It is just as dangerous as any illegal drug, yet it's legal for adults to drink. Automobile accidents involving alcohol are the leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 to 24. People who choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated usually overlook and disregard the negative consequences of their actions, and the effects on victims and their families. When alcohol is consumed it affects the body immediately. With heavy consumption, many people experience nausea and vomiting because alcohol irritates the stomach lining. One of the most dangerous short-term effects is that many people who are intoxicated don't think they are impaired. Their false confidence leads them to think they can drink and drive safely, when they can't. Alcohol reduces the nerves' ability to produce and transmit electrical impulses from the brain to other parts of the body. However, this damages almost every aspect of information processing by the brain. It can cause fuzzy, unfocused vision; decreases physical coordination, reduces reaction time, and it diminishes one's judgment and alertness. People cannot drive safe while intoxicated because of these reasons. Alcohol distorts the visual perception of the driver and interferes with division of attention. Alcohol harms the eyes ability to focus and judge distance accurately, so a car in front of an intoxicated driver may look father away than it really is. Alcohol slows the pupil's reaction to light, so bright headlights can blind a drunk driver for a longer period of time opposed to a sober driver. Alcohol can cause uncontrollable shaking of the eyes, which causes double vision and makes safe driving impossible.
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