A study performed by a sociologist at the University of California, San Diego, showed that no amount of blood alcohol – even levels that are well within the legal limit – is safe for drivers.
Though the blood alcohol limit for driving within the United States is 0.08 percent, this new study has shown that even drivers who have a very low blood alcohol level and are well inside the legal limit have an increased risk of incapacitating injury and death while behind the wheel.
The study was published within the Addiction journal by lead author David Phillips. Both Phillips and his UC San Diego colleague, co-author of the study Kimberly M. Brewer, looked into the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) official data in order to reach their conclusions. The information they used included data regarding every individual in the United States who had been in fatal car crashes between the years 1994 and 2008. There were 1,495,667 individuals in the record.
FARS data was chosen due to its national, comprehensive nature for every county, every day, and at all times of the day, as well as the fact that it registered any blood alcohol level of the drivers in .0.1 increments.
The research findings indicated that even when the alcohol content of the blood was barely detectable, the crashes were 36.6 percent more severe. Moreover, when compared to sober drivers, who experience 3.17 serious injuries per non-serious injury, drivers who had a blood alcohol content of 0.01 had a rate of 4.33.