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Drunken Drivers May Fare Better in Car Accidents

It’s Not Known Why Alcohol Protects the BrainIn the movie I Love You To Death, St. Louis’ own Kevin Kline plays a philandering husband whose wife attempts to kill him. She tries all kinds of things and gives him a massive dose of sleeping pills. This just makes him drowsy. Then she finally just shoots him in the head.

All this accomplishes is to give him a giant headache. He finally decides to go to sleep. When he gets up, he’s perfectly fine except the headache is even worse. The bullet is visible, sticking in his head just behind his ear. The two reconcile and the wife confesses that she shot him and calls the doctor. The doctor says that all of the sleeping pills slowed his body’s metabolism down so slow that it saved him from the bullet.

Kind of far-fetched I know, but there just may be a kernel of truth in it. According to CNN, recent studies have shown that people who have a lot of alcohol in their system when they get injured in an accident, have a better chance of survival than those who don’t. That’s why you always read the stories about alcohol related accidents where everyone is killed except the drunken driver.

One theory to explain this is that the alcohol relaxes the body so much that the driver doesn’t tense up when there is that internal collision, but nobody really knows.

In the study of 38,000 patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries who were admitted to U.S. hospitals between 2000 and 2005, 38 percent had alcohol in their blood. Such patients had a lower risk of dying of their injuries than those who hadn’t been drinking. But the drinkers seemed to have more complications than those non-drinkers who survived.

One reason that the drunk divers fared better might be because they were younger on average and in better physical shape than the victims. But the statistics still show a variance when that is taken into account. Of course no one is suggesting that you drink before you drive, because doing that increases your chances of having an accident by a wide margin.

It’s doubtful if alcohol will protect the brain after the injuries, but that facet hasn’t been studied yet. Who knows, maybe sleeping pills? They sure helped Kevin Kline.

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Drunken Drivers May Fare Better in Car Accidents
Drunken Drivers May Fare Better in Car Accidents

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