Safety on the Road

Safety on the Road

Almost every second victim of a road accident in Latvia can “thank” a drunk driver for their injury. World statistics show that a very large number of drivers have had problems due to light alcohol – beer. A belief that you have not drunk anything strong and therefore you can drive safely is misleading. What is the truth?

Driving, even after drinking little alcohol, creates a threat to both your own and the surrounding people’s health and safety. Sitting at the wheel requires attention, adequate thinking, quick perception, and coordination but while under the influence of alcohol these abilities weaken. And remember – when drunk, a pedestrian is also dangerous on the road!

World statistics show that a person who drives intoxicated has a 17-fold greater risk of death in a traffic accident. While research in the United Kingdom reveals that 48% of crashes that resulted in pedestrian deaths involved alcohol for the driver or the pedestrian.

While Under the Influence of Alcohol:

  • It is impossible to assess a situation adequately and critically

  • It is difficult to perform multiple actions at the same time (for example, to look at the road and in the rear-view mirror, to switch speeds)

  • Movement coordination and reaction are weakened

Alcohol greatly impacts your ability to focus on different points, e.g., observe other traffic participants as well as the traffic light. This ability’s deterioration has been observed even when there is the permitted 0.2% alcohol concentration in the blood, which is the lowest level of alcohol that many people experience when consuming only one standard dose of alcohol.

The permissible level of alcohol in the blood for drivers stipulated by Latvian legislation is 0.2 per milles for drivers with experience of less than two years, 0.5 per milles for other drivers.

Per Mille (Blood Alcohol Level) Scale

  • 0,2-0,5 per milles: it is difficult to detect the size of objects and moving light sources. The consequence is an inaccurate calculation of the distance to the cars driving towards you and the failure to observe a safe distance.

  • 0.5-0.8 per milles: distance is assessed incorrectly. The eyes’ ability to adapt to changes in lighting deteriorates. A lowered perception of red light occurs. Reaction and attention weakens. The consequence is that it is difficult to detect red traffic lights, brake and stop signals, as well as the demarcation of dangerous road sections, it is difficult to switch from high to low beams, it is difficult to assess correct distances, for example, until a sharp turn. Motorcyclists are not able to stay in their lane.

  • 0.8-1.2 per milles: euphoria starts, overestimation of your abilities, the visual angle decreases (tunnel view). The ability to perceive objects decreases, depth of field is miscalculated. The consequence is a risky driving style, the deterioration of vision after shifting between low to high beams, delayed recognition of pedestrians, cyclists, standing vehicles, incorrectly assessing situations and passing vehicles on the sides.

  • 1.2-2.4 per milles: the ability to adapt to changes in lighting is dramatically weakened. Attention and concentration abilities are almost zero. Strong euphoria and overly-excessive self-confidence is characteristic. Slow reaction. The consequences are an extremely risky driving style, orientation problems in space, movement errors (for example, the gas pedal is pressed instead of the brake).

  • 2.5-4 per milles: Corresponds to the anaesthetic or agonal stage.

  • A deadly dose is considered to be 4-5 per milles.