How DUI Feel? What to Think About the Alcohol You Drink

how does the alcohol you drink make you feel?

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“Don’t ask her on a straight tequila night,” the country song goes, claiming tequila’s power to incite feelings of heart-wrenching angst over lost love. Plenty of people believe that the type of alcohol you drink has some direct connection to the emotional response we have while under its influence. We were a little excited that with recent headlines, there may have been some science to back up those claims, especially when the way a person feels could determine their motivation for a DUI, too.

Unfortunately, science really just threw back a shot and said the type of alcohol you drink still doesn’t matter.

A recent survey discovered:

  • Liquor encouraged more “positive” emotion in respondents, including feeling more energetic, confident, and sexy.
  • Liquor made people feel physically ill.
  • At the same time, liquor made people feel more aggressive.
  • Red wine helped drinkers feel more relaxed.
  • Some red wine drinkers complained the beverage made them feel more tired.
  • Heavy drinkers seem to report more negative emotions than occasional drinkers, including aggression, but they also felt more energized.

Basically, not a lot of this makes any difference. Alcohol affects people differently based on a wide range of factors. The one effect that seems to be standard is impairment, which is why we have the standard blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing that determines a DUI and is used in ignition interlock technology.

The alcohol you drink does seem to have one indisputable fact: when you drive after drinking you are dangerous. A DUI does not depend on the mood you are in, nor does it require a specific type of alcohol. When you drink, your mood may be affected but so is your ability to drive, whether you are energized by those tequila shots, or ready to hit the sack. Keeping the number of drinks in mind is probably a better use of your time and efforts than cataloging your (perhaps somewhat exaggerated) alcohol-emotional connection.

Will the New Utah BAC Law Keeps Tourists Away?

Utah BAC and the future of tourismWhen the party people think about their next bar crawl destination, they obviously start mapping out a trip to Utah. Across the U.S., Salt Lake City and Park City are THE places to rock a weekend of binge drinking, body shots, and beer bongs. The lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) law that passed in Utah this year was a total oversight of the drinking culture that Utah is best known for. That lower BAC limit will do nothing for public safety, except keep away the masses of spring break partygoers.

Okay, maybe not.

Yes, there is a lower Utah BAC limit. No, not one person is surprised or staying away from Utah because they cannot drink and drive as they did before. A lower BAC is not an ignition interlock device – it cannot prevent drunk driving, and it will not stop people from drinking responsibly either.

Utah BAC at-a-glance comparison:

  • Utah’s DUI rate is at .7 percent, in comparison to the national average of 1.9 percent.
  • Iowa drunk driving stands at 3.1 percent, Florida scores 2.1 percent.
  • Utah’s drunk driving rate is at least one-third of salacious headliner state Florida and real-life drunk driving danger domain Iowa.
  • People in Utah may drink less alcohol. Or perhaps they are just smarter about not driving if they have been drinking.

We all know that Utah is unique, BAC or no BAC. Regardless, a lower Utah BAC law is not going to change how tourists see the state because tourists are not visiting Utah to drink and drive.

The cries from the affected industry heads (those who profit from alcohol sales) about fewer tourists seem a little petty, considering how people continue to visit Utah and visit often. Tourism and associated employment rates rose from 2015-2016, and a lower BAC is not likely to affect that trend. Even if it did, the fact that the state is keeping DUI damage to a minimum is likely another attractive aspect to adventures in Utah.

A Florida DUI on a Horse… Debate?

Yes, you can be charged with a Florida DUI on a horse.

florida DUI on a horseIt is no laughing matter, of course. But it is a warning to anyone who tries to drink and then operates any type of vehicle that transports person or property. That means a car, truck, SUV, bicycle, skateboard, lawnmower or a horse can all be a vehicle in the Florida DUI debate. The recent story about a woman who was arrested for a Florida DUI is getting a lot of attention, and not just because it is another wacky Florida DUI story.

A “vehicle” in Florida is defined as:

(97) VEHICLE.—Every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except personal delivery devices and devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

We don’t normally consider horses to be vehicles. Yet, they were pretty much the standard vehicle before bicycles and motorized vehicles became as common as today’s smartphones. Horses are known to be highly intelligent animals, but they are quite literally not the controlling power at the reins. If that person in the saddle (or in the driver’s seat) is unable to safely direct (drive) the horse, there are definite risks to the rider/driver, to the horse/vehicle, and to anyone or anything in the path.

Despite claims otherwise, the Florida DUI on a horse story holds legal water, outside of the horse/vehicle debate. The suspect was given a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test at the time of her arrest, with a reading that was well over the legal limit of .08 percent.

In any other case, a BAC over the legal limit, plus dangerous behavior on the road when driving a vehicle, will always equal a DUI charge.

The lesson here is more than what is or is not a vehicle in Florida or any other state. The lesson is that if you are drinking, let some other (sober) person take on the challenge of getting you to and from wherever you wish to be. The road to recovery after a DUI can be long and frustrating, and there is nothing debatable about the peace of mind that comes from a sober ride home.

Weird DUI: Food Excuses that Don’t Work

weird dui food excusesPeople do all sorts of interesting things to catch a little beer buzz, many of which are harmless and cannot do a thing to increase blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is the measure of how intoxicated a person is and is often used by law enforcement as grounds to arrest a driver for DUI, DWI, or OWI. There is a logical connection between the terms “alcohol” and “BAC” but there is also a lot more to the kind of alcohol we consume, how it is consumed, and how that ends up impairing our driving than simple wordplay.

For instance, a weird DUI myth is that foods cooked with alcohol can actually cause impairment or drunkenness.

In most cases, the alcohol in beer-battered chicken or fish is minimal and is burned off in the frying process (high heat kills the intoxicants in alcohol), leaving just the flavor. The same can be said for foods that have liquor or wine enhanced sauces, like chicken marsala. A good rule of thumb is that foods cooked with alcohol are not intoxicating, just really yummy.

As with everything, there are always exceptions to the alcohol-in-food rule.

The heat in coffee does not kill the alcohol in an Irish coffee. The rum in rum balls or the marsala in tiramisu won’t pass the breathalyzer or ignition interlock test. Drunk driving is drunk driving, and you may not only end up with a hangover the next morning but a weird DUI story, too.

Either way that you look at it, using food as an excuse for your drunk driving is… well, inexcusable. Either you are trying to get out of a DUI by blaming the dinner you just ate, or you are actually impaired from your food choices. If you have been drinking or eating alcohol, your only way to steer clear of a DUI is to find a safe ride home.

Weird DUI: Mosquito Bites and your BAC

weird dui mosquitoIf only there was some way to really know whether are safe to drive after sharing a few drinks with friends. Aside from the obvious breathalyzer test or common sense, that is. If only we were given a sign that would tell us how much alcohol was in our system before we make that buzzed decision to get behind the wheel and drive home.

According to science, we are in luck. A documented, yet weird DUI premonition can come from those pesky bloodsuckers who come to feast at dusk. Mosquitos, it seems, are more attracted to those who are under the influence of alcohol than those who prefer a more sober summer style.

That is a buzz we can all live without, but the weird DUI fact is that alcohol in our blood gives the little buggy pests a scented target that is irresistible. When we drink, we sweat a bit more. We smell a little differently. Our core temperature also rises. All of those factors are attractive to mosquitoes, more than we may realize (because we are intoxicated), and all of those factors are also obvious signs that we are not safe to drive.

Remember that mosquitoes can also carry diseases. Another reason to keep a sober mind, or at least stay at home if you’ll be drinking.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the measurement used by law enforcement to determine if a person is legally intoxicated. It is also what causes mosquitos to keep bugging us for sample after sample of those shots we just shared.

Perhaps the next time you are enjoying those drinks with friends, notice who is swatting away the mosquitoes. If that person is you, then make a plan for a safe ride home. Not only are you avoiding the dangers of a DUI and the consequences for drunk driving (like an ignition interlock device), but you are also keeping the mosquitos from buzzing while… Buzzed.

Weird DUI: Yep, Even on a Unicycle

weird dui unicycleThere are so many car-less ways we can use to get around town. Some people choose to walk from one place to another. Others use non-motorized vehicles like bicycles, skateboards, or scooters. Once in a while we are treated to the visual of a neighbor running the roads (well, sidewalks) on a unicycle. As crazy as that may be, there are still weird DUI cautions for these seemingly safe vehicles, like do not drink and try to “drive.” You are not a whole lot safer without a motor, nor are you any more able to operate those vehicles safely than if your vehicle has a motor. Plus, you can still be charged with a DUI… even if your vehicle is a unicycle.

In Colorado and several other states, there are laws that specifically criminalize drinking and riding a bicycle. Given the large communities of bicyclists in that state, the danger is apparent: intoxicated bicyclists are not exactly models of safety. The same sort of prohibition is extended to other non-motorized vehicles, like skateboards, unicycles, or roller skates. If you consider the difficulty an intoxicated person can have while walking, adding wheels to the mix is just asking for trouble. Weird DUI trouble.

No really, there are weird DUI stories, and then there are dangerous DUI realities.

Probably the biggest danger with a unicycle, bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle driven under the influence is to the driver. Much like the biggest risk to an intoxicated pedestrian is the actual walking (whether tripping or jaywalking) and bad decision-making at a crosswalk. As such, the law in many states can be interpreted in such a way that a “driver” of a unicycle who is found to be legally intoxicated could be charged with a DUI or other drunk driving charge. Furthermore, in states where ignition interlock devices are required for all DUI convictions, an intoxicated driver could end up with an interlock requirement on their motorized car, truck, or SUV, even if that vehicle was not part of the problem to begin with.

What Happens at Different Blood Alcohol Levels?

high BAC hardcoreBlood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is the measure used to define how much alcohol is in a person’s blood. It is also used for legal purposes in a DUI or drunk driving case.  The more alcohol consumed, the higher the BAC level, because the body processes alcohol at a consistent rate, and drinking tends to outpace alcohol metabolism. When one drinks more than the body can process, alcohol levels rise and cause intoxication, leading to the possibility of driving drunk and DUI consequences.

BAC Levels and the effects:

.02 percent BAC: The body gets warm and somewhat relaxed, and judgment is altered slightly. Visual functions decline, as does the ability to multi-task.

.05 percent BAC: Inhibitions are lowered, as well as coordination and alertness. The eyes may be slower to focus or track objects, and reaction times are delayed.

.08 percent BAC: As the legal limit that defines intoxication, this BAC level shows significant problems with coordination. Speech, motor control, hearing, and vision are all affected, and reaction time significantly declines. This level of intoxication creates a true danger on the road.

.10 percent BAC: Speech is slurred, and, the ability to think or move appropriately has deteriorated. As this level is above the legal limit, there is a stronger danger involved and even less ability to make correct judgment calls.

.15 percent BAC: Considered a hardcore, high BAC level in many states in legal, DUI terms. Once a person reaches this level, they may already be vomiting, as well as exhibiting a true difficulty walking or even sitting.

.25 percent BAC and above: loss of consciousness, “alcohol poisoning,” and death are possible consequences to this level.

When drinking, keep in mind that the more one drinks, the less a person is able to judge one’s own level of intoxication. Understanding the effects of drinking on the body and mind. Then set a limit before drinking, and to stick with it, or plan for a safe ride home with a designated driver or taxi.

Your DUI Personality is Showing

DUI-personality-problem man drinkingPeople say and do all sorts of things when drinking. Some people drink to relax and become the life of the party. Others may drink and become angry or withdrawn. The common theme is blaming the alcohol, which is also a big part of a DUI. But when people say drinking changes their personality, how much of that is true?

Not much, according to a recent study. When drinking, we all have to take on responsibility for our actions. If we drink and drive, end up with an ignition interlock device, that is our fault. If we become karaoke superstars, that’s our fault. If we destroy property or insult our boss, that’s our responsibility, too. Our personalities don’t have a magic switch, but alcohol probably just allows those aspects of ourselves shine a little brighter (or scarier) as our inhibitions are lessened. That’s actually a big reason people drink and drive, their judgment is impaired and may do things that aren’t part of their normal routine… all because of alcohol.

Fun fact: the reason you make bad decisions while drinking is that alcohol causes the brain to release dopamine. Heavy drinking produces so much dopamine, you can no longer understand the difference between healthy and good decisions and those that can put you in the doghouse… or in jail. Alcohol use and abuse is a leading factor in many property crimes, sexual assaults, DUIs and other behaviors that don’t normally occur when a brain is functioning normally.

Alcohol may not change personalities, but it definitely needs to be considered a factor in decisions, whether those decisions are DUI based, or interpersonal. There’s only so much a person can blame on alcohol, and since there’s no ignition interlock device for personalities, it is in everyone’s best interest to keep their own attitudes in check when they’ll be drinking.

How Many Non-alcoholic Beers to a DUI?

Non-alcoholic beer DUIHeineken is releasing a zero-percent alcohol version of its infamous lager, which plenty of Heinie fans think is a good move. Still, zero-percent and non-alcoholic beer have their own complications, with people blaming the innocuous brews on their DUI decisions. A recent DUI in Japan involving non-alcoholic beer (not Heineken) is a perfect example of how people may not understand how alcohol or non-alcoholic beers work.

Heineken is just one brewer that is jumping on the non-alcoholic beer bandwagon.

Some non-alcoholic beer may still contain a trace amount of alcohol, up to two percent in some cases. The average alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage in beer runs around five percent, although there are always exceptions to that, especially with microbrews and specialty beers. In the Heineken case, zero means zero, the new non-alcoholic brew is basically beer flavored soda. No alcohol, no DUI.

In Japan zero also means zero when it comes to non-alcoholic beer. In the case of the zero alcohol DUI in Japan, the woman claimed to have consumed 15 non-alcoholic beers. Her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was four times the legal limit, which is expected through consuming 15 regular beers or light beers. When you multiply zero by any number, the BAC should be zero, and while police breathalyzers are just as sensitive as ignition interlock devices to the presence of alcohol, a reading that high indicates the drinks that were consumed were not without alcohol.

As more brewers launch products that contain trace amounts of alcohol, or those without any ABV to report, we can all enjoy the taste of beer without the DUI and other complications. However, it may be in your best interest, and the interest of other drivers on the road, to ensure that whatever you are drinking that claims to be without alcohol actually contains no alcohol.

Drinking Disaster: Why is Too Much Alcohol a Problem?

Drinking disasters and the bad labels of alcoholFor fans of alcohol, the idea of additional alcohol may be appealing; less fuss, more drunk, so to speak. For alcohol aficionados, and for those of us on the road, too much alcohol can be a problem – a big problem. Alcohol is regulated for safety reasons, and we rely on the labels on our favorite beer or liquor to give us the right information. Unfortunately, human error is always a factor that can quickly lead to a drinking disaster, for even the most careful carouser.

We rely on “BAC math,” the ability to calculate how much we’ve been drinking based on a standard serving size and the percentage of alcohol contained in that service. Just like too much alcohol can ruin the taste of a drink, too much alcohol in a drink can lead to much worse situations. There are reasons why Everclear is a controversial beverage, especially the 190-proof version that is 95% alcohol. Our bodies can metabolize alcohol only so quickly, so a higher proof brings more risk of a drinking disaster.

Common drinking disasters include:

  • Health problems: liver disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, etc.
  • Injuries: falling, tripping, burns and other emergency situations.
  • Sexual and simple assault: alcohol lowers inhibitions, decreases judgment and can increase violent tendencies.
  • DUI and drunk driving: Having three standard drinks in an hour can raise a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit. When the alcohol in those drinks is increased, drunk driving dangers rise, too. At the very least, you could end up with an ignition interlock. 

It may be fun to joke about a higher percentage of alcohol, but the reality is that the more alcohol we consume, the higher we risk involvement in those drinking disasters. Drinking safely, having a safe ride home and knowing the risks of too much alcohol keeps everyone on the same page, and hopefully out of hot water from those disasters.

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