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Study finds that any alcohol in system makes driver impaired

We've all heard the cute monikers that people throw around when they, or someone they know, are drunk. You can get a "buzz" going; sometimes people get "hammered"; and, of course, people may get "wasted" from time to time. What all of these names veil is a simple truth: the person is intoxicated, and probably to the point where they are beyond the legal limit. Getting behind the wheel of a car when you are "buzzed" or "hammered" or "wasted" is negligent and stupid. You put yourself and others at extreme risk of injury, or worse.

While it goes without saying that drinking and driving is dangerous, a new study contends that any drinking and then driving is dangerous.

The study, which looked at 570,000 car accidents over a near-two-decade span (1994 to 2011), and what researchers found is that people who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 are 46 percent more likely to be "solely blamed" for and accident than their sober counterparts. To put that in perspective, an adult man who consumes 6 ounces of beer would blow a 0.01 BAC.

Ultimately, the point being made by the study is that any alcohol in a driver's system can make them an impaired driver. In addition, some conclusions about the study are that 0.08 is not a "magic number" where someone immediately becomes a worse driver at that point of intoxication. In fact, 0.05 is a significant marker. From that point and above, a driver's abilities become quite impaired (and they deteriorate quickly as the BAC moves higher).

Source: Reuters, "Buzzed drivers under legal limit still risk car accidents," Jan. 22, 2014

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