Alcohol consumption is a personal decision that each individual is entitled to make. But consuming alcohol and driving on the road is something to which this freedom does not extend at all.
Such irresponsible behaviour is condemnable not only due to the fact that it violates the laws of this country but also by virtue of the fact that it is endangering numerous lives for one’s pleasure and negligence.
This is a serious offense that can put someone behind bars.
How does Drinking Affect Your Body?
- It is easily absorbed in one’s bloodstream giving no time for its effects to kick in.
- It slows the cognitive activities of the brain. For instance, it inhibits coherent speaking, causing slurred speech and a lack of coordination between action, thought, and speech.
- Alcohol can cause numbness, weakness, and temporary paralysis.
- Alcohol can cause acid reflux and heartburn.
- Alcohol can result in stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis.
- It affects the ability to make memories leading to blackouts or gaps in memory.
- The abundance of alcohol can damage one’s liver by causing hepatitis, jaundice, and cirrhosis, which is the build-up of scar tissue that eventually destroys the organ.
- Alcohol may cause kidney, bladder, and prostate inflammation.
- Heavy drinking for prolonged periods of time can cause withdrawal symptoms in an individual too.
- Heavy drinkers may be more likely to succumb to illnesses such as tuberculosis or pneumonia due to a poor immune system, and increased risk of numerous forms of cancer.
How does Your Body Type Decide How You React to Alcohol?
The following aspects about one’s body type need to be kept in mind while understanding how one reacts to alcohol/ liquor consumption –
- Women tend to be smaller than men, therefore, they get intoxicated faster.
- Women have less alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol, so alcohol remains in the bloodstream longer.
- Women also tend to get intoxicated faster as they tend to have a higher percentage of body fat rather than a higher percentage of lean body mass that can distribute the concentration of alcohol better.
- An offspring of parents with a history of alcoholism, according to studies, are at four times greater risk for developing alcoholism.
- Usually, individuals of Asian or Native American descent show reduced tolerance to alcohol as the levels of alcohol dehydrogenase is lesser within them.
- It is observed that people with a smaller stature will become impaired quicker.
The Number of Fatalities Due to Drunk Driving
India has some of the most fatal roads in the world – not just thanks to potholes, but also due to the high incidence of drunk driving.
India reports more than 1,34,000 lives being lost each year in road accidents – out of which 70% of the cases are due to drunken driving. It is also observed that young motorists have the highest number of failures in the breath analyser tests.
What are the Rules Based on Drunk Driving in India?
If you are caught drunk driving, beyond the permissible limit of 0.03% or 30 µl alcohol in 100 ml blood, you can be booked for violating Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Also, the recent changes to the Motor Vehicles Act have increased the fine to INR 10,000 (which was earlier INR 2,000) and imprisonment from six months to four years now.
The penalty amount would vary based on the content of alcohol in the bloodstream at the time the individual was caught.
How does Drunk Driving Impact Your Car Insurance Claim?
- Rejection of claim – all standard insurance policies have drunken driving as an exclusionary clause. It is an automatic rejection of a claim. Just like what happened with Aditi when her car collided with another car in the parking lot of a pub. Aditi was drunk hence couldn't control the staring hence her car smashed into another car. As a result, she not only has to bear the financial loss of the third-party's car but also repaired her own car from her pocket. The reason being, her insurance company did not approve her car insurance claim request as she was drunk when the incident took place.
- Hike in premium – violating traffic laws or convictions for drunken driving will reflect poorly on one’s record indicating to the insurer that you spell bad news and are a high risk to the insurance company. This will result in a hike in the premium rates.
- Facing rejection from car insurance companies – insurers might think twice before offering you an insurance cover in light of your convictions and bad history with drinking and driving. This might force you to drive in the absence of a license which is an offense in itself. Do not fall into this vicious cycle/trap.
Drinking and driving is a recipe for disaster. Avoid doing this at all costs, for it is in the best interest of everyone involved.
A little exercise of restraint or even some prudent decision to take a cab back home will go a long way in ensuring your safety and the safety of others. ‘Chalta hai, sab karte hair yaar’ cannot be an answer to this question anymore.