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Revealing figures in new study on drunk and 'buzzed' driving

People in New Orleans have read their fair share of drunk driving accident stories in the news. Really, anyone across the country has read about one or ten (or hundreds) of such stories. The crucial factor in these stories is that many of us have been in a similar situation to the unfortunate souls who decide to drive drunk. Maybe we weren't legally drunk; in fact, we may have only had one drink; but we still got in the car and drove while alcohol was in our system. There's nothing wrong with that so long as we're under 0.08, right?

Well according to a new study, the answer to that question is "no." Researchers looked over nearly two decades worth of fatal car accidents (nearly 570,000 collisions) and found that even a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 is enough to dramatically boost your chances of getting into a crash.

It takes just six ounces of beer to make an adult male's BAC reach 0.01, and the study found that such a BAC makes someone 46 percent more likely to be solely at fault for a fatal crash than a sober driver.

It's a startling revelation that says a lot about how we perceive alcohol and car accidents. Even though we may think we're "fine" after one drink, the reality is quite different. Another conclusion this study (and others) reached is that 0.08, the legal limit, is not necessarily the benchmark it may seem. Sure, at 0.08 you are impaired; but what research has found is that 0.05 is a crucial number that when reached (or crossed), the driver becomes much more impaired than before.

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

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