Altoona, PA- Energy drinks can give a person the pep they need when they’ve hit a wall, but these drinks also may have an unintended consequence, they may lead to drunk driving according to a new study.

For the study, researchers surveyed 355 college students about their alcohol consumption over the past month. Of those students, 281 admitted to drinking with 107 telling researchers that they drank a combination of alcohol and energy drinks.

Of the study participants who mixed energy drinks with alcohol, 57 percent admitted to driving when they knew that had too much to drink. For the alcohol-only drinkers, 44 percent admitted to drunk driving, according to Fox News.

Researchers also found that 56 percent of combined users said they rode with a driver, who was too drunk to drive, compared to 38 percent of study participants who drank only alcohol.

“From a physiological standpoint, [consuming energy drinks] does change the brain chemistry to make you more confident,” study author Conrad L. Woolsey of the University of Western States in Portland, Oregon explained to Fox News.

Woolsey noted that study did not conclude that energy drinks cause people to engage in risky behaviors; instead he said the individuals who choose energy drinks may be predisposed to taking risks. As previously noted, some of the stimulants used in energy drinks can alter a person’s brain chemistry.

Still, when it comes to drunk driving alcohol is the true culprit. Drinking causes elevated levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain which make a person feel good and reduces their inhibitions. The less inhibitions a person experiences, the more likely they are to do things a sober mind would never consider like driving drunk or while on drugs. Alcohol makes people do risky things because they aren’t thinking straight, but that becomes a moot point when a person is charged with DUI.

An AAA study from earlier this year showed that even though many motorists know that drunk driving is wrong, alcohol gives them a false sense of confidence about their ability to drive safely. Someone who is sober would never think of driving drunk, but when they are drunk they tend to believe they are okay to drive.

For so many, it takes just a drink or two to get them in serious legal hot water. The law is clear: Drinking and driving is wrong! Get caught doing it and you have to pay the consequences. Exactly what those consequences are depends on the actions you take, namely whether you decide to hire a Pennsylvania DUI attorney to work on your defense.

A solid DUI defense may give you the opportunity to avoid a conviction or plead to lesser charges. Or, it can give your Altoona DUI attorney the leverage they need to get your penalties reduced if conviction is inevitable. The costs of a DUI are too high to try and deal with this charge on your own.