It is all too easy for responsible adults to unintentionally drive while intoxicated above the legal limit. Alcohol metabolizes at different rates depending on a variety of factors. Unfortunately, if you have a few drinks with dinner, you cannot always count on your body’s signals to let you know whether or not it is safe to drive as you may feel completely sober even when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above .08.
So, what guidance should you follow when attempting to avoid driving under the influence (DUI)? A new study indicates that even if your BAC is below the legal limit of .08, you should avoid driving altogether until you are completely sober. Some Americans believe that being “only buzzed” prevents them from driving in harmful ways. But even if you are not legally drunk, you can still be an unintentional menace behind the wheel.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego concludes that drunk driving accidents occur even when “buzzed” (BAC of .01 to .07) and “minimally buzzed” (BAC of .01 specifically) motorists are driving with blood alcohol levels below the legal limit of .08. These researchers examined data associated with more than 570,000 fatal car accidents that occurred between 1994 and 2011. The data they analyzed indicates that even drivers with a BAC of .01 are nearly 50 percent more likely to cause fatal accidents than sober drivers are.
Motorists should take this data very seriously. Even if your BAC is below the legal limit, if you are even a little bit intoxicated your chances of causing an accident are significantly heightened. Please, allow your body to become totally sobered before you get behind the wheel.
Source: Claims Journal, “Even Very Low BAC Levels Associated With Causing Car Crashes,” Jan. 17, 2014