Understanding BAC in the Wake of Panama City Beach DUI Fatality

Last month, we briefly touched on the April 27 accident that claimed the life of motorcyclist Joe Landers. The accident is again the subject of reporting by The News Herald this week as additional charges are filed in what police are now considering a Panama City Beach DUI fatality.

Landers, a police chief from Lowell, Arkansas, was riding with a group of motorcyclists on Thomas Drive when Jimmy John Christo Jr. pulled in front of him without signaling. Unable to avoid Christo's automobile, Landers struck the vehicle and was launched over his handlebars and onto the ground. Landers, who was not wearing a safety helmet, died from his injuries. Christo, a Panama City Beach resident, fled the scene of the accident but was later apprehended by the Florida Highway Patrol. Initially, Christo was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash as well as possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. On Tuesday, FHP officials announced that additional charges of DUI manslaughter were being filed in the case.

Far too many lives are altered or cut short as a result of drunk driving accidents in Panama City and neighboring North Florida communities. Often, reports regarding DUI-related collisions make mention of the driver's blood alcohol count. This measure, commonly referred to as BAC, looks at the concentration of alcohol in the blood of an inebriated individual. BAC is expressed as a percentage, measuring the grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. As is generally the case across the nation, Florida considers it driving under the influence if the driver's BAC is over 0.08.

BAC can be impacted by a number of factors. Two people can consume the same amount of alcohol but have different BAC readings. Factors that impact BAC include weight, muscles mass, hydration level, and food intake. As a result of differences in body compensation, women will usually have a higher BAC than men with the same level of alcohol intake.

The effect of alcohol increases as BAC levels rise. Even a low BAC can result in reduced inhibition and impaired concentration. At a 0.08 BAC, an individual may experience a loss of muscle coordination and impaired judgment. These effects worsen as BAC becomes higher, with reaction times continuing to slow and reasoning abilities progressively diminishing. Loss of consciousness can result from a BAC around or above 0.20 BAC, with death possible at a 0.30 level and nearly certain if BAC reaches 0.50. Myths abound about ways to "sober up," but only time can reduce an elevated BAC.

Our Panama City DUI victim law firm represents those who are injured or who lose a loved one due to another driver's decision to sit behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. While 0.08 is the level at which a criminal count of DUI may be filed, any amount of alcohol may be relevant to a civil lawsuit seeking damages after a collision. Please contact the Panama City personal injury attorney at The Pittman Firm to discuss the unique details of your accident case.

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