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All Press Releases for February 03, 2014 »
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Is Buzzed Driving Really Drunk Driving?

The author of a new study on alcohol impairment suggests that the legal limit to drive should be lowered in the U.S.
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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ, February 03, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- In Arizona and every other U.S. state, the legal limit to drive after drinking is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent. That limit is set by individual states, and it took 21 years for all states to lower the legal alcohol concentration to the current limit. Now, safety experts are questioning whether .08 is low enough.

Study: Minimal Drinking Can Lead To Accidents

One recent study found that drivers who were "minimally buzzed" or "buzzed" were often to blame for fatal accidents. The term "minimally buzzed" includes drivers who had a BAC of .01, which is well within the legal limit. Researchers examined more than 570,000 fatal accidents between 1994 and 2011. The results: Drinking and driving with any alcohol in the body is dangerous and leads to more severe accidents.

The study focused on drivers with a BAC between .01 and .07 percent. The results showed that drivers with a BAC of .01 percent are 46 percent more likely to be blamed for car crashes than the other drivers involved in the collisions. The higher the BAC, the more often the drivers are blamed.

The lead author of the study, a sociologist at the University of California San Diego, says the results show that no blood alcohol content is low enough to be safe for driving. He thinks the legal BAC in the U.S. showed be lowered, based on the study results.

Federal Safety Board Recommends Lowering Legal Limit

The National Transportation Safety Board agrees with the lead author's position. Last May - months before the study results were published - the federal agency recommended that states lower the legal BAC for driving. It suggests lowering the BAC to .05. According to the NTSB, at .05, some drivers have problems with depth perception. Cognitive abilities are impaired at .07. Changing the standard to .05 could save almost 1,000 lives a year, according to the agency.

In 2010, alcohol impairment was a factor in nearly a third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's 10,228 people. In Arizona, state traffic statistics show there were 5,444 alcohol-related crashes in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. Thirty-four percent of all traffic fatalities in the state were alcohol-related.

The NTSB recommendation was criticized by groups representing the restaurant industry. But the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) also spoke out against lowered BACs. The founder, who is no longer with the organization, told news outlets that she sees high-BAC drunk driving and distracted driving as bigger problems.

Legal Representation After Losing A Loved One

Regardless of whether lowering the BAC to .05 is the answer, it's clear that drinking and driving continues to be a major factor in fatal car accidents in Arizona and throughout the U.S. If you have lost a loved one in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident, an experienced attorney can advise you on your options for filing a wrongful death claim that can provide money damages and help hold drunk drivers accountable.

Knapp & Roberts provides experienced representation for people who have been seriously injured or lost loved ones in car accidents. Call (480) 991-7677 or visit for more information.

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