“Your ability to operate a motorcycle — or any vehicle — is reduced anytime you drink or get high. Drugs, whether legally prescribed or illegal, pose a threat to you, your passenger and others on the road. When it comes to alcohol, even a small amount of alcohol reduces brain function and impairs thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination.” (NHTSA)
Fatal crashes involving impairment have declined over the past six years, but they remain high overall, with 30% of rider fatalities involving drugs and/or alcohol in 2020. Notably, around 11% of motorcycle fatalities involved impairment by drugs alone, which represents an increase since 2015.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol can negatively affect many of the skills necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle:
- A BAC as low as 0.02% has measurable effects on the skills necessary for driving (i.e., impaired visual functions and the ability to multitask)
- Having a BAC greater than 0.5% results in more extreme impairment (e.g., affecting concentration, short-term memory, perception, speed control, information processing, ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately, vehicle control, attention, and visual and auditory processing)
- Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher).
- Even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. In 2019, there were 1,775 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where a driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dL.
For more information, refer to the following:
- The ABCs of BAC: A Guide to Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration and Alcohol Impairment
- Drunk Driving
- Effects of Alcohol on Motorcycle Riding Skills
- Methodology for Determining Motorcycle Operator Crash Risk and Alcohol Impairment
- Impaired Motorcycle Operation – Riders Helping Riders