A new study warns that the legal limit for drunk driving should be lowered, after researchers found that “tipsy” drivers with blood-alcohol levels within the legal limit may still pose a serious risk for other motorists on the road. The study, published in the journal Injury Prevention, found that drivers classified as “buzzed” or “tipsy” were more likely to be officially blamed for a car accident than the sober drivers they collided with, leading researchers to conclude that there is no safe combination of drinking and driving. If you have been involved in a DUI accident in Atlanta, Marietta, or elsewhere in Georgia, consult our drunk driving accident lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak today. Our law firm is located in Atlanta, and our attorneys have extensive experience protecting the rights of DUI accident victims throughout Georgia.
Liability in Georgia DUI Accidents
In the study, researchers analyzed data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, evaluating more than 570,000 car accident reports involving minimally “buzzed” drivers between 1994 and 2011. They then examined the relationship between the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) and the degree to which the driver was assigned sole official blame for the wreck. According to their findings, “tipsy” drivers were 46% more likely to be officially blamed for a car accident than the sober drivers with whom they collided, even drivers with a BAC of 0.01%, which is equivalent to having one-half of a 12-ounce beer for the average adult male.
Consequences of Drunk Driving
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs and more than 10,000 people were involved in alcohol-related crashes in 2010 alone, accounting for one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States that year. Although previous studies have concentrated on the dangers of drunk driving, this is the first national analysis of “tipsy” or “buzzed” driving, and the researchers believe that concerns about drunk driving should be extended to include “buzzed” driving. “Lowering the legal BAC limit is likely to reduce injuries and save lives,” the study authors wrote. “Even minimally ‘buzzed’ drivers pose increased risk to themselves and to others.”
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In light of their findings, the study authors are advising legislators to reconsider the current legal limit of 0.08%, which is well above the legal BAC in other countries, including Germany, France and Italy, where the legal limit is 0.05%, and China and Sweden, where the limit is 0.02%. If you have suffered injuries in a Georgia drunk driving accident, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal DUI crash, contact our reputable attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak for legal help. You may have grounds to file a personal injury or wrongful death suit against the driver found at-fault in the accident, in order to pursue financial compensation for your losses.