Drunk driving was a factor in more than 10,000 nationwide traffic fatalities and 334 in Pennsylvania. We often hear about the dangers of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent (which is the legal limit), but we don't often hear about the dangers of buzzed driving.
This begs the question: how many drinks does it take to cause impaired driving? One factor that it depends heavily on is the size and weight of the individual consuming alcohol and tolerance levels.
Where does alcohol impairment begin?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol impairment can start at a BAC as low as 0.02 percent. That's only about one or two drinks. At this level, drivers may feel more relaxed than usual and may experience some minor impaired judgment and loss of visual functions.
It isn't illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.02 percent. It could still contribute to the likelihood of being involved in a crash. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause drowsiness and increase the risk of a driver falling asleep at the wheel.
Drivers who have BAC levels of 0.05 percent experience a more profound level of impairment. This is when drivers experience more loss of muscle control, lowered alertness and release of inhibitions. Drivers at this level may also have difficulty with steering, tracking objects in the road and responding to emergency situations.
Once drivers reach a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, they can be arrested and charged with DUI if they are stopped by police. The police don't always catch these drivers since they can't be everywhere all the time. The drunk drivers who go under the radar may feel confident in their ability to do so. That could cause someone's injury or death in the blink of an eye.
Can buzzed drivers be held accountable when they cause a car accident?
If the driver who caused your crash wasn't arrested and charged with DUI, even after consuming alcohol, it can be difficult to prove that your crash was caused by drunk driving.
If the driver who hit you only had a couple of drinks, alcohol could have been a contributing factor. Perhaps your crash was linked to speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving or drowsy driving.
To gather the evidence needed to prove how negligence caused your crash, you will need to consult with an experienced car accident attorney. The Law Offices of Edward P. McNelis knows how to investigate crashes like yours and help you recover the damages you're entitled to.
Attorney McNelis has been helping clients in the Hazleton, Pennsylvania area since 1982. To learn more about the legal options available to you, contact him online and schedule your free consultation.