Alcohol and Other Drugs

Topic Progress:

As a driver you have a responsibility to obey the law to keep yourself and other users of the HTS safe. Failure to meet these responsibilities can mean fines, jail time, or even death of yourself or other HTS users.

  • As you become a new driver, your responsibilities grow to include:
    1. Personal Responsibility – imposed by customs, parents, peers and personal values
    vehicle preservation
    passengers’ trust
  • 2. Licensing and Preparation – imposed by government
    Vehicle operational skill
    provincial rules and regulations
    willingness to operate within guidelines
    vehicle preparedness and maintenance
  • 3. Financial Responsibility – imposed by government and insurance
    ability to financially pay back any mistakes that you make that cause property damage, injury or death
    ability to provide a monetary pool to share costs
  • 4. Tort Liability – imposed by the courts and legal system
    Roadway property
    Other user personal injury or death
    Personal property of other users
    personal property and well-being of other users
  • Operating a vehicle carries great freedom, as well as great responsibility. Poor choices while driving lead to uninvited, serious and long-term consequences.

    Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is the number one killer of young people.
    Consequences of Drinking and Driving.

  • Personal Consequences

    You will be unable to drive
    Embarrassing to tell others you are a convicted criminal
    You may not be able to travel to other countries
    Future employers will perceive you as a criminal

  • Financial Consequences
    Lawyer’s fees, fines
    Vehicle seizure
    Alcohol/drug assessment
    license reinstatement
    trial fees
    insurance premiums go up
    If someone was hurt, potentially all your income could go to the family of the deceased.

    Never risk more than you can afford to lose. When you look at all you could lose, the risk of driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol is not only irresponsible, it is incredibly foolish!
    Just say no.

  • Alcohol Related Crashes

    Alcohol is a major factor in nearly half of all fatal collisions, including both pedestrians and drivers.

    The leading cause of death for those aged 16-21 is motor vehicle crashes.

    Statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving from 2010 note that there are 3.4– 4.1 deaths per day caused by impaired driving.

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  • Percent of BACAgeIncreased Risk of DeathAgeIncreased Risk of Death
    .012 to .04920None15 to 192.5 times
    .05 to .079202 times15 to 199 times
    .08 to 0.99207 times15 to 197 times
    .10 to .1492013 times15 to 1940 times
    .15 and over20110 times15 to 19420 times
  • Physiological Factors

    As a Drug

    Alcohol is a drug. It is the result of the process of fermentation of grapes, grains, other fruits etc
    Unlike food, alcohol is absorbed directly in to the blood stream, and especially into areas that have a larger amount of bodily fluids, like the brain.
    Once it has been drunk and absorbed, the liver must process the alcohol at its own steady rate. This process cannot be sped up.
    Time is the only remedy for inebriation

  • Stages of Alcohol Influence

    All the negative influences of alcohol start with the first drink.
    It is NEVER safe to drink and drive.

  • Blood Alcohol Level

    The amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream, most often tested with a breathalyzer
    Your BAC is affected by:
    your weight
    your sex
    what you drink
    If/what you eat before and while drinking
    how many drinks you consume
    how much time has passed during/since drinking

  • Blood Alcohol Calculator

    A BAC of .03 to .05 is commonly accepted as impairment.

    Any drivers caught with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 per cent to 0.08 per cent during roadside tests will lose their licences for seven days.

    By .08 in Canada (any discernible amount for novice drivers), the driver is driving under the influence and can be charged under the Criminal Code of Canada.

  • Effects of Alcohol on Reaction Time

    Slower to understand (or misunderstand)
    Slower to decide on a course of action (or decide to do the wrong thing)
    Slower to react

  • Collision Potential

    If your BAC exceeds .08 you are 7.5x more likely to get in a collision than without alcohol
    At .15, you are 25x more likely to get in a collision
    What is an acceptable risk of injury or death due to drinking and driving? NONE. Just say “No, I am driving”

  • Synergistic Effect

    Mixing alcohol and drugs is a dangerous thing to do.
    As you process both alcohol and drugs simultaneously, your body focuses on processing alcohol first.
    Thus, the effect of the non-alcoholic substance is amplified, and can have dangerous, and possibly deadly, unexpected effects.

  • Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Use Are:

    Organ damage including cirrhosis of the liver which leads to internal bleeding, liver failure, and death
    Brain damaged to the point that an individual cannot function normally in society
    Causing eye muscles to relax and creating “double-vision”
    Lack of ability for eyes to react to stimulus, including changes in field of view.

    On Alcohol, a person’s eyes have:
    a tendency to stare straight ahead
    a narrowing of the field of vision
    a reduction in depth perception
    a reduction of adaptability to darkness
    a longer time to readjust after glare

    On Alcohol, a person’s brain has:
    a reduced awareness of danger
    difficulty recognizing potential hazards
    difficulty making decisions
    a reduction in balance (equilibrium)

  • Psychological Factors

    Factors Influencing Drinking

    Peer Pressure: Drinking alcohol because others are.

    Influence of Parents: If parents abuse alcohol, this may influence kids to do the same.

    Social Acceptance: It’s seen as normal for people to drink alcohol.

    Anxiety/Frustration: People see it as a way of coping.

    Perception that consuming alcohol is always a good time.
    Psychological Effects

    Causes attention to be divided, and the ability to focus to be lost
    The brain is less capable of storing and retaining information in memory
    Emotional control is lost as more alcohol is consumed
    The level of aggression increases, which is especially dangerous if someone is driving.
    As a person drinks more often, a tolerance for alcohol is inevitable. Signs of drunkenness are lessened, though BAC is just as high

  • Other Drugs

    All drugs have an affect on the human brain, and therefore on our ability to drive.
    There are a number of kinds of drugs and we will touch on a few.

    Over the Counter Drugs (OTC)
    Any drugs bought from a pharmacy/drug store that do NOT require a prescription
    Can cause drowsiness, dizziness, slower reaction times, reduced coordination and other side effects
    Safe to take before driving, as long as instructions on the bottle are followed.

  • Prescription Drugs

    Any drug that requires a doctor to order and sign for you
    Can have higher dosages of active ingredients than OTC drugs
    Controlled by law, records are kept their use
    Ask your doctor what potential side effects exist, especially those related to driving.
  • Depressant Drugs

    Prescribed to relieve tension, to calm nerves, as well as treat high blood pressure.
    Cause driver to become more relaxed, lose inhibitions, and have poorer judgment
    Barbiturates, tranquilizers and sleeping pills are all depressant drugs
    Particularly dangerous when consumed with alcohol due to synergistic effect
    Cold/cough/allergy medicine combined with alcohol causes disruption of physical, intellectual, and perceptual functions

  • Antidepressant Drugs

    impair vigilance, increases reaction time drastically
    divided attention for multi-tasks (such as driving) is very limited

  • Stimulants

    Often used to stay awake on long drives, stimulants give a person a burst of energy, followed by a sudden drop as the stimulant effect wears off.

    Caffeine and nicotine are common stimulants. Caffeine does not sober a person up. Only time will
    Amphetamines can results in overly-risky behaviour, hostility and aggressiveness for drivers behind the wheel.

    Cocaine affects the users perception, mood and thinking. Blurred vision, glare problems and hallucinations (including false sounds and smells) are also experienced

    Cocaine makes the user feel very mentally and physically aware, for a short period of time, which turns in to suspicion, distrust and paranoia.

  • Hallucinogens

    Mind-altering drugs can alter personality, cause panic or terror and alter the way a person acts, sees and thinks.