We generally associate drunk driving with teens and young adults more than with older ones – and certainly more than with senior citizens. Indeed, it is a serious problem for young people, and their drunk driving crashes are more likely to be fatal.
However, alcohol use disorders and problematic drinking behaviors like binge drinking among seniors are becoming more common. That increases the risk of drunk driving and the risk of being arrested and charged with DUI.
Why alcohol has a greater effect on people as they age
Even one drink can cause seniors to be too impaired to drive. As one doctor notes, “Older people have less muscle mass, and the liver metabolizes alcohol more slowly. Aging brains grow more sensitive to its sedative properties, too.” That also means that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which law enforcement officers measure with breath tests at traffic stops, rises faster.
Many older people are also taking one or more prescription medications that can impair driving ability – certainly when combined with alcohol. Even seniors who haven’t consumed any alcohol could face a DUI charge if their medication causes them to drive erratically.
Finally, our reflexes and reaction times slow as we get older. While a younger person may be able to compensate for having a small amount of alcohol in their system by remaining especially alert as they drive. An older person is going to have a more difficult time doing that.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI, don’t underestimate the potential consequences to your life. It’s crucial to seek experienced legal guidance to protect your rights.