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Driving hung-over can lead to OUI

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recently issued a timely reminder to drivers who drink. Most understand the dangers of getting behind the wheel after a night of drinking, but many will be surprised to note that alcohol may still be in their bloodstream the next day. This means that Massachusetts drivers can be at a higher risk for an accident or even get an OUI after they have supposedly slept it off.

"Driving hung-over can be just as dangerous as driving after having a few drinks," said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East Central.  "After a night of drinking, many people will wake up with alcohol still in their blood, or they will wake up tired and disoriented."

The fact remains that time is the only thing that can sober up a driver. The human body takes about 75 to 90 minutes to process the alcohol in one standard-sized drink. If a driver has more than a couple of drinks, they could look at waking up while still being impaired.

The hangover risk

According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, a drinker's hangover does not begin until their blood alcohol content (BAC) is near zero. Theoretically, this means that it is a safe to drive because the alcohol is out of the driver's system, but hangovers present their own dangers:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue, muscle aches, shakiness and weakness
  • Nausea, stomach pain and vomiting
  • Sleep deprivation or a poor night of rest
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Mentally unfocused or dizziness

Attorneys can help with borderline cases

Some may complain that paying for an Uber or cab is expensive, but it is still much much cheaper than fines and penalties resulting from an OUI. They may have even hired a car but still were pulled over the next day going to work. It is always advisable to hire an attorney if pulled over, but it may be particularly advantageous for drivers pulled over the next day. In cases such as these, the BAC may be borderline and the driver simply failed his or her roadside test because of exhaustion, officer error, a false reading or other contributing factors.

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