flat-tires-duiIt has to be a record of some sort. Not too long ago, a man in Maynard, Massachusetts was arrested for Drunk Driving. Police knew something was up because the front right tire was completely gone.

Back last November, a man in Riverside, Illinois was arrested for driving without two front tires – and, of course, for driving drunk.

But the Shoeless Joe Jackson award for rubberless road navigation goes to Tristan Roderick Anagal, 24, who was recently extracted from his Dodge Challenger after being stopped in Scottsdale. The car had four flat tires. Needless to say, only an impaired driver would be able to ignore such a bumpy ride, and in fact the evening ended in a booking for DUI, among other offenses.

We don’t really need a reminder that drunk driving is illegal, or that alcohol impairs judgment so severely. But think for a minute – if a person can ignore a condition as obvious as four – four! – flat tires, what else will he or she ignore? Traffic signals? Pedestrians?

Depending on the amount, booze can remove everything ability that one needs for safe driving. At the legal limit of .08 these faculties will be impaired:

  • Reflexes
  • Judgment
  • Coordination
  • Vision
  • Motor control
  • Reaction time
  • Alertness
  • Depth perception
  • Managing multiple tasks

Of course, at a higher limit you’ll lose even more, including a possible understanding of where you are and what you’re doing. It would appear that the driver in this incident had little control of the situation, or else the lack of four tires would have caused him to stop.

While this is an extreme case, there are many drivers on the road who think that they’re okay because they’ve only had one or two drinks. They don’t have slurred speech, and they would notice if a tire blew out, but they are still unfit to drive. Even at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05, some of the above faculties are compromised enough to greatly increase the chance of a collision.

In fact, drivers with a BAC of .01 are 46 percent more likely to be blamed for collisions they’re involved in. A 2014 UCSD study showed that there is no safe level of blood alcohol when it comes to driving.

And that is why we advocate ignition interlocks, or car breathalyzers, for all drunk driving offenders. And why we support efforts to educate young people on the dangers of drunk and buzzed driving, so they don’t grow up thinking that “a couple of drinks are okay.”

There’s a lot of work to do to raise awareness of the issue of buzzed and drunk driving. Fortunately, we’re tireless.

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