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Fatal crash data reveals risk for drivers under legal limit

A lot of us are led to believe that if something is legal, then it is likely also safe. We trust laws and regulations to protect us from various hazards such as dangerous drugs and other products, and the dangerous behavior of other people. One example of this is in the laws regulating drunk driving. We all know that drunk driving is dangerous and poses a risk to the public, which is why drunk driving is a crime. However, what most people do not realize is that simply because one is under the legal limit for blood alcohol content, that does not mean that they pose no risk to the public.

In fact, a new study has found that any amount of alcohol in one’s system greatly increases the risk of being involved and held responsible for a fatal car crash. The study was conducted at the University of California where researchers say their findings have a lot of implications for public safety. First and foremost, it overturns the myth that having one or two drinks before driving is not dangerous.

Drivers who have a blood alcohol content of just .01 percent (well below the legal limit of .08), were 46 percent more likely to be considered at-fault for a car accident than a driver who had not consumed any alcohol. A blood alcohol content of .01 is approximately just half of one 12-ounce beer for an adult man.

An important take-away from this study is to ensure that the designated driver is completely sober. Another is to remember that drivers who behave irresponsibly and get behind the wheel when they have been drinking should be held responsible for their actions.

Source: Fox News, “Buzzed drivers under legal limit still risk car accidents,” Jan. 22, 2014. 

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