We all know the dangers of drinking and driving, but a new study has found that “buzzed” driving can be just as dangerous. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is the proportion of alcohol to blood in the body and is expressed in deciliters of blood – for example, 0.08 percent would be 0.08 grams per deciliter of blood. A 160-pound man will have a BAC of approximately 0.04 percent 1 hour after consuming two 12-ounce beer on an empty stomach.
All State Drunk Driving laws mandate safe driver BAC limits. The BAC limit for drivers age 21 and older is 0.08 percent in all 50 States. Each state law has set different BAC limits for those under the age of 21, since it’s illegal to be drinking in the first place.
In 1994, almost 7,800 people aged 16 to 20 were drivers in fatal motor vehicle crashes. Twenty-three percent of these drivers had BAC’s of 0.01 percent or higher. Many states are now implementing a “no tolerance” BAC limit for drivers under 21, reducing the acceptable BAC limit to .02 or even .00. Many states have credited this new law with a 16% drop in fatal accidents for this age group.
A new study published by Addiction argues that there is no “safe” BAC and buzzed driving is just as fatal as drunk driving. Research has documented that the risk of a motor vehicle crash increases as Blood Alcohol Content increases but different BAC levels will impair your driving skills differently. A BAC of just .20 can impair your ability to divide your attention between two visual sources while driving. At 0.05 percent BAC the impairment occurs consistently in glare resistance, reaction time, information processing, and other aspects of motor performance.
Compared with drivers who have consumed no alcohol, the risk of a fatal crash for drivers with BAC’s between 0.02 and 0.04 percent is estimated to be 1.4 times higher; for those between 0.05 and 0.09%, the risk is 11.1 times higher; for drivers between 0.10 and 0.14% BAC risk is 48 times higher; and for those at or above 0.15% BAC, the risk is estimated to be 380 times higher. These statistics help prove that while drunk driving is extremely dangerous, buzzed driving is also unsafe.
The U.S. has the highest Blood Alcohol Content limit of any developed nation. Germany’s BAC limit is .05% while Japan’s is .03% and Sweden’s a .02%.
If you’ve been injured in an alcohol-related accident please contact a Rio Grande Valley personal injury lawyer to learn more about your rights.
Jeff Davis is the Owner of the Davis law firm and a highly experienced Brownsville personal injury attorney. To find out more information about a Rio Grande Valley personal injury lawyer, please contact us.