Adults of all ages can have problems with alcohol, but typically, senior citizens are not the ones going out to drinking parties. Unfortunately, as people age, their bodies change. Alcohol is not metabolized as efficiently as it was when a person was younger. Medications change how alcohol affects a person. It is essential to consider how alcohol affects you based on many different factors before you get behind the wheel of a car after you have been drinking.
Blood alcohol concentration measurements
Blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is the percentage of ethanol in a person’s blood. Ethanol is the chemical name for the consumed alcohol. In Florida, it is against the law to drive with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Most people know the more they drink, the higher the BAC will be, but there are other things that affect your BAC, such as:
- Body weight
- Body fat
- Chronic disease
Another factor that could increase an older person’s sensitivity to alcohol is not having as much water in the body. This means there is less liquid to dilute the effects of alcohol. You could drink the same amount of alcohol as a 25-year-old but have a higher BAC. In addition, older adults experience the effects of alcohol more readily. You may slur your speech more or have less coordination than you would if you were younger. The National Institutes of Health, Senior Health reports that alcohol is a factor in 40 percent of crashes because it impairs a person’s coordination and reaction time, but it is also a factor in 60 percent of falls in older adults.
Risks of driving increase with age
Even when an older person does not drink, traffic accidents pose a higher risk for seniors. Older drivers tend to be more seriously hurt in a crash than younger drivers. Add just a moderate amount of alcohol and your risk of being in a crash goes up. Any accident, but especially a DUI, can turn your life upside-down.
The best thing to do is have a designated driver or take a cab home after you have been drinking. A DUI has serious consequences, even a first-time offense. If you are charged with a DUI in Florida, it would benefit your situation to talk to an attorney about your case before trying to handle it alone. Your lawyer can help you protect your rights and driving privileges and find the best possible outcome for you.