As the body ages, it is less capable of breaking down alcohol. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that older people in Tennessee and around the country could be at a higher risk for unknowingly driving while intoxicated because of the following:
- Older bodies do not metabolize and absorb alcohol as quickly as younger bodies can.
- The elderly are more likely to have health conditions that alcohol will exacerbate.
- Medications that are prevalent among the elderly do not mix well with alcohol.
- The aging process leaves less water in the body, which can lead to a higher blood alcohol concentration.
Researchers from the University of Florida decided to test the difference between the effects of alcohol on people ages 25 to 35 and those ages 55 to 70. Both groups took a driving test in a controlled environment while sober. The participants then drank either a non-alcoholic drink or a beverage that would raise their alcohol content to a legal level but one that a breath test would register.
After having the drink, the participants took the driving test again. Researchers found that the elderly people had poorer precision and exhibited signs of impairment, while the younger participants scored well.
The finding is a necessary reminder that inebriation can begin after just one drink. As countless studies and real-life accidents have shown, alcohol and driving simply do not mix. Anyone who gets behind the wheel should be aware of their risk factors for causing a drunk driving accident, which includes how old they are.