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Older drivers may be subject to intoxication after just 1 drink

For many people, it's not uncommon to enjoy a drink with dinner or while gathering with friends. Consuming only one alcoholic beverage might be seen as a way to be responsible. However, a study may prove to be problematic for people who believe they are doing the right thing in this sort of situation.

Researchers at the University of Florida took a look at the effect that having one alcoholic beverage has on a person's ability to drive. The study included two groups, one with people between ages 25 and 36 and the other was populated by people between 55 and 70 years old. Shockingly, the study revealed that older drivers showed signs of after having only one drink.

After consuming a single alcoholic beverage, participants in the study were asked to use a driving simulator. Researchers looked for perceived signs of intoxication, such as ability to maintain speed, stay within a lane and handle the steering wheel. Older drivers didn't perform as well as their younger counterparts. These are some of the signs that police officers might consider to be probable cause for pulling a driver over.

One really important aspect of this case is that none of the participants in the study had a blood-alcohol content at or greater than 0.08 percent. Even though no one would have been legally intoxicated according to a blood-alcohol test, some still showed signs of impairment.

In South Carolina, it's possible for law enforcement officials to pursue driving under the influence charges even if the driver is below the 0.08 percent legal limit. If the arresting officer has reason to believe that driver is impaired without the legally defined level of intoxication, then DUI charges could stand in court.

Even when a person intentionally limits alcohol intake, he or she could face criminal charges. This study exposes a difficult situation that could ensnare people who were trying to responsible.

Source: CBS News, "Older drivers may be impaired after just one drink," Mary Brophy Marcus, March 21, 2014

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