Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on March 18th, 2014,
by Zane Cagle

“Buzzed Drivers” at Greater Risk for Auto Crashes

Posted on March 18th, 2014 by Zane Cagle

According to a recent article in the Journal of Injury Prevention, drivers registering well under the legal limit for alcohol consumption including blood-alcohol content (BAC) measurements as low as 0.01 percent are considerably more likely to be at fault when involved in a car accident than sober drivers.

While this study did build on previous “buzzed driving” research, is it first type of study done in regard to scale. So much so, that the researchers examined data from more than 570,000 car accidents between 1994-2011.

While we have been saturated with messages about how dangerous driving drunk is, many will be amazed to learn that even small amounts of alcohol consumption can lead to a greater chance for blame.  For example, researchers involved in the recent study found that drivers with a BAC of a mere 0.01 percent-about half a 12-ounce beer for an adult male-were 46 percent more likely to be attributed sole fault for a car collision than a sober driver.

So, is “Buzzed Driving” Unsafe–Meaning a BAC lower than .08 percent?

Researchers noted that there is nothing “magical” about the BAC level of 0.08 percent.  No research is available to suggest that there is a great decline in driver ability or capacity from 0.07 to 0.08 percent.  In fact, quite a few studies  indicate that the driving capacity of even experienced drivers may begin to deteriorate around 0.05 percent.

In some state, such as Louisiana, they do not require a BAC of 0.08 percent in order to be guilty of drunk driving. The Louisiana law expressly states that the crime of operating a vehicle while intoxicated includes derivers with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher or drivers simply “under the influence of alcoholic beverage”.  Under the second option, no preset BAC limit is necessary before a driver  can be found guilty of drunk driving.  In several situations, Louisiana courts have recognized that breath or blood tests are not even needed to secure a drunk driving conviction, although these tests may make a conviction easier to accomplish.

What is Clear About Buzzed Driving

What is clear about “buzzed driving” is that IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA for personal safety sake and legally.  If you are buzzed and are in a crash, the likelihood that you will hold greater fault for the crash is pretty good.  Auto accidents can be rather complex situations depending on all of the facts.  If you are engaged in distracted driving or driving under the influence even though you are not drunk, then the assessment of fault for the crash may lay more heavily on you than the other driver.  While many may not think this is fair, in each case or crash, we look at all of the factors that went into causing or contributing to a car accident.  Distracted driving as well as buzzed driving and drunk driving are all choices that we make and we are all held accountable for our decisions.

If you have been in an auto accident, you may need legal assistance. If you were injured or if the other party is claiming the accident is your fault, you will need an attorney be sure that your rights are represented and you receive fair compensation for your injuries.  At The Cagle Law Firm, we support sharing information to reduce driving under the influence.  We represent seriously injured clients of auto accidents and we know the life-changing injuries that can come from a bad choice or negligent choice. Our attorneys are available seven days a week for free consultations, locally (314) 276-1681 or toll free (314) 276-1681