The Personal Injury Risks of Blackout Drinking

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TOLEDO, Ohio. Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony before Congress ignited a national debate about teen alcohol use, sexual assault, and the dangers of blackout drinking. One of the central questions during the hearings involved memory—its power when victims are under duress and its limitations, particularly when a person has been drinking. The hearings highlight the real risks that blackout drinking poses. When people drink to blackout, not only is the risk for sexual assault greater, but also the risk for car accidents. According to Vox, people may do things when they are blackout drunk that they may not remember the next day. This includes getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, and even the possibility that a person could be in an accident and not remember it at all.

Blackout drinking is often misunderstood. Many people understand blacking out to be passing out, or falling asleep. However, blacking out is quite different, and is far more disturbing. When someone is blackout drunk they can have conversations, they can do things, and they can forget everything that happens. Vox defines blackout drinking as “alcohol induced amnesia.” During heavy drinking, the part of the brain that encodes memories can become temporarily disabled. A person in this state might be able to have a conversation, might be able to start a vehicle, and may even be able to drive home. This is alarming, because when a person is blackout drunk, his or her judgement may be compromised. He or she might get behind the wheel, putting others in danger.

Everyone’s tolerance for alcohol varies. Some people will need only a couple of drinks to blackout while others will need far more. However, the more alcohol you consume, the more at risk you are of blacking out. Blackouts don’t necessarily have to involve a complete forgetting of an entire night. Individuals can forget segments of a night. For example, a person might remember the party, but may not remember how he or she got home.

Vox reports that individuals are more at risk of injury during blackouts. People may be more likely to behave in ways that they would not behave while blacked out. A person who would never drink and drive, might be shocked to learn from friends or family that others had to steal the car keys the night before.

Blackouts among teens are quite common according to researchers. Psychology Today reports that as many as 74 percent of 19-year-olds have gotten so drunk they have blacked out. Teen drunk driving is particularly alarming because teens don’t have the same experience behind the wheel that older individuals have. Teens who drink and drive might be more likely to be involved in car accidents.

So, what can you do to avoid drunk driving accidents? Plan your night ahead of time. Decide before you drink that you’ll call an Uber or have a sober friend drive you home. Don’t drink to excess. Pace yourself, and consume alcohol with food. Finally, watch out for your friends and don’t let them drive drunk.

Drunk driving can lead to deadly and serious accidents. Often, the people who are hurt are those who were not drinking. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident, speak to the personal injury lawyers at the Schuller Law Office in Toledo, Ohio today. Our firm can review the factors leading up to your accident and fight to help you and your family get the recovery you may deserve. Visit us at to learn more.

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