Even drivers with a blood alcohol content level below the legal limit of 0.08 put the lives of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians at risk.

In Alabama, and in every other state in the country, it is illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level at or above 0.08, states the Governors Highway Safety Association. However, alcohol-related crashes that result in serious injuries and fatalities can still occur when a driver has a BAC level below this legal limit.

'Buzzed' drivers still put others at risk

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, even drivers who are only slightly 'buzzed' are more likely to be at-fault for a collision than sober drivers. To come to this conclusion, the researchers analyzed data collected from a U.S. national database and looked at over 570,000 car accidents that occurred between 1994 and 2011. Some of the factors the researchers analyzed in each collision included the BAC measurements of those involved and how the accident could have been caused, like which driver drove into the wrong lane or failed to stop at a red light.

Drivers who had a BAC level of just 0.01 were 46 percent more likely to be blamed for the accident than other drivers who did not have any alcohol in their system. As a result, the researchers concluded that the only safe driver is one who has a BAC level of zero.

The effects of alcohol on driving ability

While drivers with BAC level of 0.01 may be more likely to cause a motor vehicle accident, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that drivers with a BAC level of:

  • 0.02 may experience a decline in their visual functions and their ability to perform two activities at one time
  • 0.05 may have a hard time steering their vehicle, experience a reduction in their coordination and have a difficult time tracking moving objects
  • 0.08 may experience short-term memory loss, have a hard time controlling their speed as they drive, experience an inability to process information effectively and have a difficult time concentrating

Additionally, intoxicated drivers who exceed the legal limit of 0.08 and reach a BAC level of 0.10 may have a difficult time braking appropriately and staying in their lane.

Drunk driving fatalities in Alabama

Many people in Alabama are killed or seriously injured by an intoxicated driver every year. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization states that in 2012, there were 257 drunk driving fatalities in Alabama, a figure that accounts for 30 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the state during that year.

Those injured in a collision caused by a drunk driver in Alabama may experience consequences that harm them financially, emotionally and physically. If you sustained injuries in an alcohol-related crash, speak with an attorney to find out what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury