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Traffic Engineering

Contact for General Highway questions, concerns, or comments


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Nebraska Office of Highway Safety (NOHS)
A Section of NDOR Traffic Engineering Division
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1.  Mouth and Esophagus: Alcohol is an irritant to the delicate linings of the throat and food
     pipe. It burns as it goes down.

2.  Stomach and Intestines: Alcohol has an irritating effect on the stomach’s protective
     lining, resulting in gastric or duodenal ulcers. This condition, if it becomes acute,
     can cause peritonitis or perforation of the stomach wall. In the small intestine,
     alcohol blocks absorption of such substances as thiamine, folic acid, fat,
     vitamin B1, vitamin B12, and amino acids.

3.  Bloodstream: Ninety-five (95) percent of the alcohol taken into the body is absorbed
     into the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach and duodenum. Once in the
     bloodstream, alcohol quickly goes to every cell and tissue in the body. Alcohol causes
     red blood cells to clump together in thick wads, slowing circulation, and depriving
     tissues of oxygen. It also causes anemia by reducing red blood cell production. Alcohol
     slows the ability of white cells to engulf and destroy bacteria and degenerates the
     clotting ability of blood platelets.

4.  Pancreas: Alcohol irritates the cells of the pancreas causing them to swell, thus blocking
     the flow of digestive enzymes. One out of five patients who develop this disease die during
     the first attack. Pancreatitis can destroy the pancreas and cause a lack of insulin, thus
     resulting in diabetes.

5.  Liver: Alcohol inflames the cells of the liver causing them to swell and block the tiny canal
     to the small intestines. This prevents the bile from being filtered properly through the liver.
     Jaundice develops turning the whites of the eyes and skin yellow. Each drink of alcohol
     increases the number of liver cells destroyed eventually causing cirrhosis of the liver.
     This disease is eight times more frequent among alcoholics than among non-alcoholics.

6.  Heart: Alcohol causes inflammation of the heart muscle. It has a toxic effect on the
     heart and causes increased amounts of fat to collect, thus disrupting its normal metabolism.

7.  Urinary Bladder and Kidneys: Alcohol inflames the lining of the urinary bladder making
     it unable to stretch properly. In the kidneys, alcohol causes increased loss of fluids
     through its irritating effect.

8.  Sex Glands: Swelling of the prostrate gland caused by alcohol interferes with the ability
     of the male to perform sexually.

9.  Brain: The most dramatic and noticed effect of alcohol is on the brain. It depresses
     brain centers progressively producing in-coordination, confusion, disorientation, stupor,
     anesthesia, coma, and death. Alcohol kills brain cells and brain damage is permanent.
     Drinking over a period of time causes loss of memory, judgment, and learning ability.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

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Information in this table shows the BAC level at which the effect usually is first observed, and has been gathered from a variety of sources including the National Highway Safety Administration, National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, American Medical Association, American Automobile Association, National Commission Against Drunk Driving, and

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Typical Effects Predictable Effects on Driving


Partial loss of judgment
Slight body warmth
Altered mood
Reduction in visual functions (rapid tracking of moving target)
Decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)


Exaggerated behavior
May have loss of small-muscle control (as in focusing one’s eyes)
Judgment changes
Good feelings
Lowered alertness
Release of inhibition
Decline in coordination
Lessened ability to track moving objects
Difficulty steering
Reduced response to emergency driving situations
Lessened ability to brake appropriately


Muscle coordination becomes poor (e.g., balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing)
Difficulty detecting danger,
judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are affected
Concentration impaired
Short-term memory loss
Speed control altered
Information processing capability lessened (e.g., signal detection, visual search)
Impaired perception and lessening of peripheral vision


Marked deterioration of reaction time and control
Affected speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking
Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake correctly


Far less muscle control than normal
Vomiting may occur
Considerable loss of balance
Possible memory loss
Considerable impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in visual and auditory information processing capability


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According to Traffic Safety Fact 2014 Data Alcohol-Impaired Driving - NHTSA,

  • Of the 9,967 people who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2014, 6,391 (64%) were drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher.  The remaining fatalities consisted of 2,752 (28%) motor vehicle occupants and 824 (8%) nonoccupants.

  • These fatalities represent an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 53 minutes.
  • The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was 4 times higher at night than during the day (34% versus 9%).

  • Of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week 16 percent were alcohol-impaired, compared to 29 percent on weekends.

  • The most frequent recorded BAC level among drinking drivers in fatal crashes were tied at .14 and .16 g/dL.
  • In 2014, 6,852 (69%) of the drivers involved in fatal crashes who had been drinking had a BAC at or above .15 g/dL.

  • Of the 1,070 children age 14 and younger killed in motor vehicle crashes, 209 or 19% occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.

  • Out of these 209 deaths, 116 or 56% of these children killed were riding in vehicles where the driver had a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher.


DWI Arrests N/A    
Alcohol-Related Convictions 7,136 Death Rate (Per 100 Million Miles of Travel)


Conviction Rate N/A  
Total Crashes 33,988 Alcohol-Related Crashes 1,759
Injury Crashes 11,649 Alcohol-Related Injury Crashes 792
Total Injured 16,806 Alcohol-Related Injured 1,178
Fatal Crashes 218 Alcohol-Related Fatal Crashes 71
Total Deaths 246 Alcohol-Related Deaths 81


  • Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Statistics - 1993-2015
  • Alcohol-Related Crashes - 2000-2015
  • Alcohol-Related Crashes Per 100 Million Miles - 1995-2015
  • Alcohol-Related Crashes By Month - 2007-2014
  • Alcohol-Related Crashes/Fatalities vs. All Fatal Crashes/Fatalities - 2009-2015
  • Alcohol-Related Fatal Crashes Per 100 Million Miles Traveled 1995-2015
  • Alcohol-Related Fatalities vs. All Fatalities - 1990-2015
  • Alcohol-Related Fatalities Per 100 Million Miles Traveled - 1995-2015
  • Cost Estimate for Alcohol-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes - 2014
  • Drivers Involved in Alcohol-Related Crashes vs. DUI Arrests - 2004-2014
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Arrests vs. Convictions - 2005-2015
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Offenses - 2004-2014
  • Fatal Crashes Per 100 Million Miles Traveled - 1995-2015
  • Fatalities Per 100 Million Miles Traveled - 1995-2015
  • History of Alcohol-Related Traffic Crashes - 1975-2015
  • NE Liquor Law Offenses - 2004-2014
  • NE Traffic Fatalities vs. Fatal Crashes - 1990-2015
  • NE Department of Motor Vehicles Annual Report (Licensed Drivers, Revocations,
        Suspensions, Administrative License Hearings)

  • Additional Crash Statistics

    NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts:
  • Alcohol-Impaired Driving - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • High BAC Laws - 2008
  • State Alcohol-Impaired Driving Estimates - 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

    MADD Nebraska Court Monitoring Publications: 2011, 2012


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    The Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (TRSP) is available to assist city and county attorneys with prosecution of impaired driving and motor vehicle homicide cases. The TSRP is also available to provide training and other technical assistance in traffic-related cases.

    For more information, contact Greg Ariza at the Nebraska Attorney General's Office,
    phone (402) 471-3824 or by email at

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