It’s a commonly held belief that drinking a little alcohol and then driving, also known as “buzzed driving”, is safe.
Researchers at the University of California have discovered otherwise.
Looking at traffic data on 570,000 car crashes from 1994 through 2011 (making the study one of the largest such studies ever), scientists have discovered that there is no safe level of alcohol in the blood when it comes to driving. In the study, the research team looked at accident data, blood alcohol levels (BAC), and clear indications of blame to reach their findings. They found that drivers with blood alcohol levels of just 0.01 were 46% more likely to be solely responsible for a car crash when compared to sober drivers.
The current legal limit in Connecticut and throughout much of the U.S. is 0.08 BAC for older drivers. The legal limit for Connecticut drivers younger than 21 is 0.02 BAC. To reach “buzzed” driver status, which occurs at 0.01 BAC, it’s estimated that an adult male needs to consume just one half of a twelve-ounce beer. Half a beer…
So what are drivers and passengers to do?
- If you are the designated driver (young or old) – don’t drink – at all.
- If you are a passenger – don’t ride with a “buzzed” driver. Seek another way home.
How much alcohol can one drink before one is considered over the limit in Connecticut? The general rule is more than one mixed drink per hour will put you over 0.08 – though that can vary depending on factors like body weight. Beer and wine have different levels of alcohol and the quantity that will drive your blood levels above 0.08 vary.
Well, where might all this research lead to? There are conversations starting about lowering legal limits in the U.S. to limits common in other countries – 0.05 BAC. Studies suggest that level would in fact lead to a somewhat lower number of car accidents.
So where does this leave us?
- First – lead by example. Don’t drink and drive. You are impaired if any alcohol is in your system.
- Talk to your kids and your friends about the issue. Help them understand that “buzzed driving” dramatically increases the odds of a car accident.
- If you are hosting a party at your house – always offer non-alcoholic beverages – and make those options visible to your guests.
If you are ever injured in a car accident with a driver who has been drinking, know that the Connecticut car accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting people just like you for almost 60 years. And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever in a car accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut car accident lawyers, please contact us.
There is no obligation of any kind.