The Dangers of Drinking While Driving

In a tragic story reported by the Associated Press in the New York Post, we learned about the deaths of three young people in a traffic accident in Bethel Park near Pittsburgh this month. According to the story, three young women were in an SUV when it collided with a utility pole on Library Road.

Tragically, the driver, a 21-year old single mother, and two passengers (ages 23 and 17) were killed in the crash. A fourth passenger, a 21-year-old female, was thrown from the SUV and was transported to a Pittsburgh hospital where she remained in critical condition.

Snapchat Videos Detail the Evenings Events

Police are using several Snapchat videos to piece together the events of the evening that led up to the fatal crash to determine who was drinking and how much alcohol was consumed. In one video, the women can be seen passing around a Vodka bottle and drinking while the vehicle was moving.

In one of the videos, the driver can be seen drinking from the vodka bottle and holding a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer while driving. Three of the women visited at least one bar on Pittsburgh’s South Side before picking up the fourth passenger when she got off work in South Park. Police Chief Tim O’Conner warned young adults and teens that they are “not invincible” and mixing alcohol and driving can result in death.

The Dangers of Drunk Driving

Over the past couple of decades, groups, organizations, and government agencies have worked very hard to raise the awareness of the dangers of driving after consuming alcohol. The effects of alcohol on a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle are well-known. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of just .02 can result in a decline in visual functions and impair the ability to perform two tasks simultaneously. A BAC of .02 can alter mood and result in some loss of judgment.

When BAC reaches .05, the person can experience reduced coordination, have difficulty steering, response time to emergency situations is reduced, and the ability to track moving objects are reduced. In addition, the person has impaired judgment, reduced inhibition, lower alertness, and may have loss of small-muscle control (i.e. focusing eyes).

The impairments above exist even before the person reaches the legal limit of .08 BAC. Alcohol levels of .08 and above result in even greater impairments that make safely operating a vehicle extremely difficult.

Driving WHILE Driving

As discussed above, the effects of alcohol on driving ability are well-known because of the efforts by many entities to educate the public, especially minors and young people, about the dangers of drunk driving.  The above tragic story highlights the need to add additional information about the dangers of drinking “while” driving to our educational campaigns.

Driving while impaired or driving under the influence is against the law. However, driving with open alcoholic containers in the vehicle is also a crime. You can be charged with multiple criminal offenses. If you cause a DUI accident, you can face even stricter punishments and penalties associated with drunk driving.

The personal risk and the risk to all others on the road is simply not worth drinking while driving or drinking while under the influence of alcohol. We urge all drivers to drink responsibly to avoid a tragic accident like the one above.

Call an Edinboro DUI Attorney for More Information

If you are charged with a DUI crime, you need experienced legal counsel. The penalties for DUI convictions in Pennsylvania can be severe.  Contact The Travis Law Firm toll-free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Edinboro DUI attorneys.  We have offices located in Erie, Edinboro, and Warren to serve our clients better.


Associated Press. “Snapchat videos show young women drinking before fatal crash.” New York Post. 26 July 2017.