Study: driving with any BAC other than zero unsafe

Here in Massachusetts, a blood alcohol content of 0.08 is the legal limit for drivers of regular passenger vehicles who are of legal age to drink. The fact that driving with a BAC under this level is legal may lead some to assume that driving with any BAC below 0.08 is safe. A recent study indicates that such an assumption would be quite wrong.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Diego. In the study, the researchers looked at the details of 570,731 fatal auto accidents. The researchers found that driving with any BAC other than zero, even a BAC in the 0.01 to 0.07 range, is associated with increased accident severity and is unsafe. For example, they found that driving with a BAC of 0.01 rather than zero increased a person’s likelihood that they would be found solely to blame in a traffic accident by 46 percent.

The study’s results raise some questions regarding buzzed driving (driving with a BAC above zero but below the legal limit) here in the United States. Is enough being done to inform drivers of the dangers of buzzed driving? What should states be doing to discourage such conduct? Should states lower legal limits?

The head author of the above-mentioned study said that states should consider lowering their legal limits and suggested a BAC of 0.05 as a possible compromise level for legal limits here in the United States.

Do you think that Massachusetts should consider lowering its legal limit to 0.05?

Source: NBC 7 San Diego, “Study: “Minimally Buzzed” Drivers Often Cause Fatal Crashes,” Rory Devine and Monica Garske, Jan. 18, 2014