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Buzzed Drivers Under Legal Limit Are Still at Risk for Car Accidents


Even drivers with a slight buzz who are under the legal limit at more likely be at fault for accidents than the sober drivers they hit, a new study report. According to a news report by Reuters Health, the authors of the study looked at fatal crash data from a U.S. database of more than 570,000 collisions between 1994 and 2011. They found that there appears to be no level of safe alcohol in the bloodstream when it comes to driving.

Sociologists say what this study means that it is not safe for an individual driver who is buzzed and still under the legal limit to drive. For passengers, it means that they should not allow someone who is buzzed to drive. The data researchers analyzed for this study included blood alcohol content (BAC) measurements for the drivers as well as clear indicators of blame for the accident such as which driver drove in the wrong lane or ran a red light. The study found that drivers with a BAC of 0.01 percent, the lowest level recorded, were 46 percent more likely to be blamed for the crash than a sober driver. The results of the study were published in the journal Injury Prevention.

Increased BAC Means Increased Risk

It is a fact than an adult man would need only half of one 12-ounce beer can or bottle to generate a 0.01 BAC reading on a Breathalyzer test. This is well below the U.S. legal driving limit of 0.08 percent. For men as well as women, the possibility of blame for the accident increased as their blood alcohol level increased. This is the first study that analyzes data on “buzzed” drivers. The study also presents an argument for reducing the legal BAC. Many European countries have legal limits of 0.05 and limits in Sweden and Japan are even lower.

Do Not Drink and Drive

The safest driver is one whose BAC is 0 percent – and that’s a fact. As California personal injury lawyers who represent victims of drunk driving collisions, we urge all drivers to take the safest step and refrain from driving if you have been drinking. The effects of drinking on an individual can vary depending on his or her weight and how much food he or she has consumed. The best decision to make is not to drive if you have been drinking. If the person taking you home is drunk or even buzzed, do not ride with him or her. Ride only with a completely sober driver.

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