Orlando Injury Law Blog

Alcohol Use Could Increase Accident Risks for Senior Motorists

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The spotlight on driving under the influence of alcohol very often tends to focus on younger teenage drivers, because of widespread alcohol use in this population. However, the actual influence of alcohol on a person’s driving abilities may be much more acute in the case of senior motorists.

According to a new study, even moderate amounts of alcohol use by senior drivers can affect driving abilities. For example, a simple glass of wine may not have a very intoxicating effect on a 25-year-old, and a person who is driving with this amount of alcohol in his blood, is very unlikely to qualify as “legally intoxicated”. However, when that same glass of wine is being consumed by a senior motorist above the age of 60, there are likely to be considerable effects on his driving capacities. In fact, senior motorists, who are driving even with such small amounts of alcohol in their blood, could be at a high risk of accidents injuring themselves and others.

The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Florida, who wanted to see how drinking small amounts of alcohol impaired driving abilities of seniors. There were two groups of people analyzed as part of the study. One consisted of persons in the 25 to 35 age group, and the other consisted of persons in the 55 to 70 age group. There were 36 people analyzed in each of these groups.

The researchers found that while neither group had drunk enough number of alcoholic beverages to qualify as being legally intoxicated, older drivers seemed to have their driving abilities impacted by just one drink.

In fact, the researchers are actually calling for a re-evaluation of blood-alcohol levels for all drivers. A senior who is driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or above, which is the maximum permissible level, could be at a much higher danger of being involved in an accident, compared to younger motorists who can more easily tolerate alcohol.

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