The act of drinking and driving is illegal in every state, as the effects of alcohol can seriously impair a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. But are the risks as severe after just one drink? The answer depends on several factors.

Alcohol Limits According to Missouri Law

The first step toward answering a question like “Can you drive after one beer?” is understanding your state’s alcohol limit laws. In Missouri, any individual with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% is considered legally impaired and will face criminal consequences if caught driving.

Alongside that general BAC limit, Missouri also has a “zero tolerance” BAC limit of just .02% for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21. Furthermore, Missouri drivers with a BAC of .15% or greater will face enhanced penalties. 

How Alcohol Affects the Body While Driving

It’s generally well understood that alcohol can substantially affect a person’s driving capabilities, thereby increasing the chances of accidents and injuries. When a person reaches the legal drinking limit, they experience severe effects, including loss of self-control and impaired perception. 

But what you may not know is that even just a small amount of alcohol in the system (a BAC of .02%) can impact a person by way of causing lapses in judgment, a decline in visual functions, and an inability to perform two tasks at once. 

The rule of thumb is simple: The more alcohol a person has in their system, the harder it is for them to drive and the greater risk they create for themselves and others on the road. Drinking and driving strongly contribute to dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, and running red lights.

Factors Impacting Alcohol Metabolism

Everyone is different, and our bodies are unique. With that in mind, the speed at which a person metabolizes alcohol (how fast their body absorbs it) plays a significant role in how drinking affects them. 

Some of the details that affect a person’s metabolism rate include the following:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Whether they have eaten or are drinking on an empty stomach
  • Other substances and medications that may also be in their system
  • How quickly they drink

In addition, the type of drink a person consumes will also determine how quickly the body metabolizes the alcohol. For instance, a small shot of liquor may take one hour to metabolize, while a pint of beer takes about two hours. Therefore, even “just one drink” can impact a person’s driving abilities and increase the likelihood of traffic accidents. 

Can You Have One Drink and Drive Safely?

While the legal drink-drive limit in Missouri is .08%, it takes much less to get your BAC high enough for your driving capabilities to suffer, as discussed earlier. 

And since it’s difficult to determine how even a single drink will affect you, it’s best to stay away from the driver’s seat soon after consuming any alcoholic beverage.

What To Do Following an Accident With a Drunk Driver

Although driving while impaired is strictly against the law, drunk drivers still choose to get behind the wheel every single day. In 2022 alone, over 13,000 individuals died as a result of drunk driving accidents, with countless other individuals suffering injuries. If you suffer harm in a drunk driving collision, do not hesitate to seek legal representation right away. 

A skilled car accident attorney can take on your case and help you prove cause and fault, allowing you to pursue fair financial recovery for your accident-related injuries and losses. Should an impaired driving accident result in the death of a loved one, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for your loss. 

No matter the case, though, your time to take action is limited. Set up a free case review with a St. Louis car accident attorney as soon as possible after a drunk driving collision to ensure you obtain the best possible outcome.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in St. Louis, MO

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

St. Louis, MO Law Office
1430 Washington Ave Ste 225, St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 444-4444

Ladue, MO Law Office
9807 S 40 Dr, St. Louis, MO 63124

Columbia, MO Law Office
28 N 8th St # 502, Columbia, MO 65201

Creve Coeur, MO Law Office 
999 Executive Pkwy Dr #205, Creve Coeur, MO 63141