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DWI: The morning after

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Question: After a night out drinking, with my friends, I was arrested the following morning for drunk driving on my way to work. How is this possible?

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Answer: Alcohol related crashes and DWI arrests do happen in the morning; we see it all the time. Those number of DWI arrests do not compare to what occurs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but is surely something to be looked at and aware of. We have more crashes when we have more cars on the road and drivers are in a hurry. If we add fatigued drivers, with alcohol still in their system from the night before, crashes will increase.

Here are the very basics about alcohol in your system. Keep in mind there are some factors that change the amount of alcohol absorbed — weight, food, man or woman, just to name a few — but we can still create an accurate guide.

The most important thing to know is that alcohol only leaves your system with time. The “average” alcohol dissipation in humans is said to be about 0.015 percent per hour. A cup of coffee or a few hours of sleep will not dissipate alcohol faster; one drink will leave your system in approximately one and one-half hour.

Now “one drink” is not a three- or four-shot Martini or a long pour cocktail. One drink for this formula is: one 1-ounce domestic beer, 4 ounces of domestic wine or one shot or less of 80 proof alcohol in a cocktail.

If you go beyond this definition of “one drink,” more alcohol will be in your system and the relevant amount of time will be needed before it leaves your system.

If you drink heavily and go to sleep for only a short time before heading out in the morning, alcohol will still be in your system and you are very likely impaired; thus, you are more at risk for crashing and hurting yourself and/or others.

Often, in these scenarios, fatigue is a huge factor weighing in also. Sleep with alcohol in your system is not good sleep and fewer than seven or eight hours a night is not recommended if trying to avoid fatigue.

Again, there is no magic pill to take. Only time will get the alcohol out of your system and it is important to consider this when making your plans and designating your sober driver.

There is zero tolerance for impaired drivers on our roadways.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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