Experts talk severity and dangers of impaired driving


Augusta, GA (WJBF) –   Experts simply say, when drinking is involved, thinking is the first thing out of the window when driving impaired.

Tara McConnell’s tested Blood Alcohol Level was almost 6 times the legal limit. We wanted to know more about blood alcohol levels and what elevated levels mean to a driver. According to the CDC, one person dies every 53 minutes due to alcohol related vehicle crashes.

“Because alcohol is legal many people don’t think that it is a drug, but it’s a mind of mood altering substance and that is the definition of what a drug is,” said Paige Miller, the Development Director for Hope House.

She says to this day alcohol abuse is a very severe topic.

“And because it is legal at the age of 21 most people don’t see that it could be an issue or is an issue although it is one of the widely most misused drugs in the United States” *but to* “a .1 for a person that doesn’t drink often can make them extremely sick but .1 for someone that does drink often that may not affect them at all,” said Paige Miller, the Development Director for Hope House.

.08 is the legal alcohol limit for drivers in Georgia and South Carolina. As far as number of drinks are concerned, depending on gender and weight determines how many drinks will get you to that .08 limit. Some assume it’s anywhere from 2 to 5 liquor drinks.

“Once you get to a .2, .3, .4 I mean legally some of those people are considered like they’re walking around like they’re dead,” said Paige Miller, the Development Director for Hope House.

Miller tells me that statistics show about 16 million adults meet the criteria for alcohol use disorders, especially when it comes to driving while impaired.

“If I was to encounter a point .451 of somebody that was under the influence to that level, that level is very extreme.. it’s rare that we end up with somebody at that level but it’s not uncommon,” Sgt. Bobby Bradford, Col. Co Sheriff’s Office.

Paige Miller- Development Director for Hope House
“So that means on that spectrum they have left the moderate side and moved toward physical dependence or emotional dependence or its just causing negative adverse affects,” said Paige Miller, the Development Director for Hope House.

Experts also add that just because people are not saying it’s an addiction doesn’t mean there is not one.

“We don’t know whats going on with someones life whether they have an alcohol abuse issue or if they one day they just drink more than they normally did and something catastrophic happened. but that’s typically all we hear about is that event and that’s it, we don’t hear about what happened before or what happened after,” said Paige Miller, the Development Director for Hope House.


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