DUI | Alcohol and Mind Wandering
Alcohol has been shown to be one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents; around 58% of drivers involved in fatal crashes were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol in a research review article. An article written by Michael Sayette and colleagues in Psychological Science, suggests a factor contributing to the commonality of DUI arrests: mind wandering.
What is Mind Wandering?
Mind wandering can be defined as an experience in which an individual is unable to focus on a single topic or activity; the ability to stay focused is important, especially when engaged in an attention-demanding task like driving a vehicle. Sometimes, you may be able to catch yourself mind wandering, and will be able to consciously re-focus your attention on the task at hand. Other times, you may not be able to catch yourself for a certain amount of time. Generally, the older the individual, the longer it takes to catch mind wandering.
Half of the participants reached a .05% blood alcohol level before starting the study, and the other half drank a placebo that had the taste of alcohol, but was actually alcohol-free. The researchers had the participants read a section of a novel, and instructed them to press a button every time they noticed that they were losing focus. This part of the study measures how often they were able to catch themselves mind wandering. Also, every couple of minutes there was a beep; at this time, the participants were asked whether or not their mind was wandering. This gave the researchers a better idea of how often people’s minds were actually wandering.
People who drank alcohol were two times less likely to recognize that their minds were wandering.
What Do These Results Have to do With DUI?
After a few drinks, the time comes when you have to be a responsible adult and decide whether or not it is safe to drive. The ability to concentrate may be a factor you consider when determining whether or not you should be driving. When you have been drinking, you are twice as likely to lose focus; at the same time, you are unable to notice this impairment. Your subjective experience is flawed; this may help explain why DUI arrests are so common. It is not unheard of to see a teacher, doctor, lawyer or judge on local news because they were arrested for DUI. If you plan to have drinks, your best bet is to find a designated driver, or take a cab. If you happen to be arrested, your best bet is to find an experienced DUI lawyer.
If you have been charged with DUI, an experienced DUI attorney is imperative. Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. handles a variety of misdemeanor and high-stakes felony DUI cases. Our Fort Lauderdale based law firm provides a strategic criminal defense to those accused of DUI. Contact our law office to schedule an appointment with our DUI lawyer for a free consultation.