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Study Says Alcohol Has Increased Affect on Seniors

Alcohol tends to affect different people in different ways, and younger drivers are typically believed to be at the highest at risk for destructive alcohol- related behaviors, like drunk driving accidents.However, seniors could be just as much at risk of being involved in accidents after they have consumed alcohol.What is even more dangerous about seniors and drinking is that alcohol consumption does not have to be large for it to affect many seniors’ driving abilities.According to research, even small amounts of alcohol can affect an older driver’s driving abilities, increasing his or her risk of being involved in a car accident.
The study was conducted by researchers who analyzed how drinking alcohol affects driving abilities, based on age.Persons in the age group of 25 to 35 were compared with another group which consisted of persons 55 to 70 years old.In both groups, persons consumed alcohol, but not enough for any of them to cross the maximum permissible blood-alcohol level in most states of .08%.In other words, nobody in either of these groups met the criteria for being legally intoxicated.

However, researchers found to their surprise that even when seniors drank just a few alcoholic beverages, it impacted their ability to drive safely.They monitored the driving abilities of seniors by putting them through a driving simulator, and found that even mild amounts of alcohol intoxication in seniors did affect driving abilities.

The findings of the study are fairly interesting because currently there are no separate maximum legally permissible blood-alcohol levels based on a person’s age. Most states, including Georgia, follow the .08% maximum alcohol limit for all adult drivers , and the person is believed to be legally intoxicated if he or she is driving with this amount of alcohol in his or her system.However, the researchers believe that perhaps it is time, in the light of this new evidence, to reevaluate those old standards.Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that a senior who is driving with a blood-alcohol level of .07% may not be legally intoxicated, but may still be at a much higher risk of accidents that than he realizes.

As a person ages, there may be physiological changes that affect his ability to walk, hear, see, respond, and react.This may be one factor that compounds the effect of alcohol on driving reaction times and perception. Regardless of a person’s age, drinking and driving is never the right choice.It is very easy to take advantage of a taxi or designated driver.Most states also have numerous Safe Ride Programs that provide partygoers with a good option for getting home safe.

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