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How intoxication levels affect driving abilities

Just like every other state, North Dakota has a legal blood-alcohol concentration limit of .08 percent for drivers who are over the age of 21. Drivers who are under the age of 21 are not allowed to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. Although the legal BAC limit for drivers is .08 percent, statistics show that the majority of drinking and driving deaths occur when a driver has a BAC of .1 percent or greater.

Drunk driving studies have shown how driving is affected by different levels of intoxication. A driver with a BAC of at least .02 percent is more relaxed and has some loss of judgment and visual functioning. This level of BAC also results in the driver experiencing some difficulty in performing two different tasks simultaneously.

When a driver's BAC rises to at least .05 percent, the driver's reaction time slows and their coordination is impaired. Drivers with a .05 BAC may also have a hard time steering and reacting to emergency situations on the road. By the time a driver's BAC level reaches .08 percent, he or she will have reduced concentration, impaired perception and loss of control. The driver will also lose the ability to reason and detect danger.

Just as drivers lose more of their cognitive abilities as their BAC rises, sentences for DUI become more severe when a driver's BAC level is higher. When a driver is facing an elevated DUI charge due to a high BAC test result, an attorney may be able to help the individual to argue for a reduced charge. To achieve this goal, an attorney may present evidence that an operator error caused the test result to be inaccurate.

Source: NCADD, "Drinking and Driving", December 02, 2014

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