NBC News reported on a new study, which recommends lowering the legal limit for DUI arrests. The study conducted by sociologist David Phillips and Kimberly Brewer at the University of California San Diego suggests that even one drink can seriously impair a driver enough to cause an accident resulting in serious injuries or wrongful death. The study was in part based on data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which contains statistics on U.S. drivers involved in fatal car accidents. The researchers analyzed the ratio of severe injuries and minor ones involving 1.5 million people between 1994 and 2008. According to Phillips, “accidents are 36.6 percent more severe even when alcohol was barely detected in driver’s blood.” “Compared with sober drivers, buzzed drivers are more likely to speed, more likely to be improperly seat-belted and more likely to drive the striking vehicle, all of which are associated with greater severity,” Phillips said. Phillips hopes the study will influence legislators to lower the blood alcohol levels for impaired drivers so as to reduce severe injuries, which will save lives.
Applicable California Law
California lowered its blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08 in 1990. California Vehicle Code 23152 makes it illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (see my prior Blog post San Diego Woman Arrested For Fatal Coronado Traffic Accident for California’s Driving Under the Influence Law). In addition to criminal penalties, there is civil liability for those who injure or fatally injure victims (see my prior Blog post San Diego DUI Statistics Improve On The New Year for California Wrongful Death and Punitive Damage Law).
Intoxicated drivers, often fail to understand that even one drink affects their ability to make appropriate decisions while operating their vehicle. Statistics and studies show that auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, and truck accidents involving alcohol and or drugs usually result in serious injuries or wrongful death. Victims and their loved ones should consult with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney before they take any action.