Unique solutions for every client

The role of environment in perceptions of alcohol use

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | DUI

One thing that you’ll find with a lot of alleged drunk drivers is that they will say they didn’t think they were impaired. They thought that they could drive safely. They didn’t realize they were intoxicated. There are even people who will argue that a breath test must be wrong.

It’s certainly true that a breath test can be wrong, but it’s also important to consider the situation that the person is in. Their own perceptions of their intoxication levels may not be fully accurate. One thing that studies have found plays a major role is the environment that person is in at the time that they try to judge their own level of impairment.

Comparing yourself to others

Essentially, what people do is that they compare their own level of intoxication to those around them. If you ask someone to guess what their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is going to be, their answer is based more on this environment than on any knowledge of their actual BAC.

As a result, if you found someone who was sitting in a quiet church after having two drinks, they may feel like they are very drunk and that their impairment is clear to everyone around them. Meanwhile, if you put the same person into a rowdy bar after having only two drinks, they may feel like they are virtually sober. Their BAC would be exactly the same in both situations, but their feelings and judgment about it would be much different.

This phenomenon can sometimes lead to drunk driving arrests. Those who have been arrested need to know exactly what legal options they have.