Operating under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a serious offense in the United States, and carries severe penalties for those found guilty. In 2009, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. The increased perception of driving while drinking as a serious problem has, in the past two decades resulted in tightening of the legal limit of blood alcohol – blood alcohol content (BAC). It has also produced another classification of driving under the influence (DUI) in many states. For instance, just recently, a man in Arizona was arrested and is now facing charges after it was determined that he had a blood alcohol level four times greater than the legal limit. This is an extreme OUI.
Normally, OUI is defined as an individual found to be operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or while registering a BAC level of 0.08. Presently in Massachusetts third offense OUI and above are treated as felony offenses. In cases of extreme OUI, an individual must be found to have a significantly higher BAC level – between 0.15 and 0.20. That is nearly double the legal limit for drivers. Statistics show that nearly two-third of all accidents resulting in an alcohol related fatality involves a driver with a BAC of at least 0.15%, or nearly twice the legal limit. This poses an extreme threat to the safety of the society and its citizens.
Legislatures attribute persistent drinking and the rise in binge drinking to the increase in extreme OUI cases. When a person consumes alcohol on a regular and continuous basis, they develop a tolerance towards the substance. Once an individual has built up a tolerance to alcohol, the amount of alcohol required to achieve a state of drunkenness is magnified. At this stage of tolerance, many people feel they are fine even after several drinks of alcohol. But the fact is that they are impaired of their driving ability due to slow reaction time, poor visibility, multitasking and coordinating various activities at a time. Usually people do not factor in extraneous circumstances, such as mood swings, fatigue and food consumed, which can have a significant effect on how your body reacts to alcohol consumption.