Your Odds of Injury Increase After Consuming Alcohol
A recent Washington Post story debates the question of how often drinking leads to injury. The study
in question looked at those who wind up in the ER and suggests that your odds of injury increase after consuming alcohol, and do so dramatically—at the very least, a single alcoholic beverage effectively doubles your risk of injury. Three drinks, according to the study, increases your risk of injury by five times. It is important to note that the study differentiates between comparative risk and absolute risk. In this case, the study assumes comparative risk—as in how often are those who drink injured as compared to those who do not drink? There is a problem with this methodology.
If you are only studying those who end up in the ER, who are you comparing them to? The study seems to compare injured people to themselves, since those in the ER were interviewed regarding their drinking habits. They were asked whether they regularly drank, whether they drank within the six hours prior to their arrival and the emergency room, and, if so, how many drinks they consumed. They were then asked how much they drank during the prior week in the same time period. In theory there is a decided advantage to performing a study in this manner—because people are being compared to themselves, there is no need to control for income, race, etc.
The disadvantages to the study design is that some of the people being questioned are drunk. Those who are impaired at the time of the questioning may not accurately remember how many drinks they had within the past six hours or whether they drank during the same time period last week.
Putting the rather obvious design flaws of the study aside, the conclusions imply drinking is correlated with an increased risk of injury. Other issues associated with the study include the following:
- “Quiet” drinkers, or those who drink outside the context of big parties or activities (say, at home by themselves) are unlikely to suffer the same level of injury as those who drink and drive.
- Those who have a violent temper and get more violent when they drink, are more likely to suffer—or cause—injury.
- While drunk driving certainly leads to injury, some risky activities may be undertaken more often when alcohol is present.
Alcohol consumption can definitely lead to speech, vision, and memory impairments, as well as slowed reaction times. Impairment may be obvious after only a couple of drinks. Most people who are drinking will dispute the fact they are suffering any impairment at all.
A 2011 Denver Post article
stated Colorado’s rates of alcohol consumption and binge drinking were significantly higher than the national average.
Each year in the state of Colorado, more than 26,000 people are arrested and charged with DUI
while more than 150 people are killed in an alcohol-related traffic collision. The fatality number represents more than a third of Colorado’s total annual motor vehicle fatalities. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed by the negligence of an impaired driver, it could be extremely beneficial to speak to an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney. Your attorney will have a goal of protecting your rights while ensuring you are properly compensated for your loss or injuries.
Contact Our Denver Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you have a right to seek compensation. Your injuries may be severe, and as such, you need a personal injury attorney on your side that can fight for your rights. Contact the Denver Personal Injury Law Firm of John R. Fuller, P.C.
today at 303-597-4500
for a free initial consultation.