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The risks of driving hung over

Posted at 6:36 AM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-01 14:00:04-05

People across the Treasure Valley are gearing up for a party this Super Bowl Sunday.

Many fans will be out celebrating Sunday night, but of course for many, Monday is still a workday.

Experts say just because you sleep it off for a few hours, doesn't guarantee you a sober drive to work in the morning. 

"Sadly, everybody that arrives in my care after receiving a DUI thought that they were sober, thought that they were not impaired, thought that they were fine," said Jason Coombs of Brickhouse Recovery in Meridian. 

"I'm currently treating some nurses and some CEO's of companies and some executive level employees of big businesses and they often times find themselves in this same scenario where they will party with their business associates the night before on a weekend they try to sober up for a few hours," said Coombs. 

It's a problem that Coombs says often lingers from the night before. 

"And they get behind the wheel and they think in their mind that they're ok and they're sober to go but they're still impaired and so they're the ones that end up getting DUIs and they land in treatment or jail," said Coombs. 

Master Corporal Jeff Jayne with Idaho State Police says trying to sleep off the booze for a few hours could still land you in jail.

"When you use the term buzzed or hung over, often times people are lulled into a false sense of security where they believe they're at a lower limit and therefore no longer in danger," he stated.

That's because you could technically still wake up with a .08 blood alcohol content or higher. 

"They can't measure whether or not it's been reduced enough to be below the statutory limit and again that's an .08 for adults, an .04 for commercial drivers and an .02 for anyone under twenty-one so it's almost impossible for anyone in the public to be able to measure that," said Jayne.

According to Dr. Nathan Andrew, a Saint Luke's Hospital Emergency Department physician, your body can only metabolize alcohol so fast.

"The body can process about one drink per hour, that's how fast it metabolizes and depending on how late you got to bed and how recently you drank, that can impact how quickly you recover," said Andrew.

It also depends on multiple factors.

"It includes gender. It includes muscle mass. It includes your age. It includes other things you might have taken that day, uh how well fed you are," Andrew added. 

"If you're still feeling the effects in the morning, you're probably not safe to drive and even if the alcohol, if you took the alcohol level and were a .02, and technically if you blew into a breathalyzer, you wouldn't register as being as you know over the legal limit of course. You still just might effects. Your reaction times aren't as quick," said Andrew.