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Study: 'Buzzed Driving' poses increased risk of fatal accident

There is no disputing the danger posed by drivers whose blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit of .08. They are simply more susceptible to DUI-related accidents by virtue of their seriously impaired reflexes and judgment. However, what about drivers who have consumed only a minor amount of alcohol or who are "buzzed?" While most people assume that these drivers are probably okay to get behind the wheel, a new study reveals that this might not be the case.

According to researchers at the University of California, San Diego, those drivers who consume minor amounts of alcohol - enough to create a buzz - were far more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal accident than someone who has consumed no alcohol.

In fact, they determined that even those drivers whose blood alcohol content was only .01 percent - sometimes less than half of one beer - were more likely to be in a DUI-related crash.

"Accidents are 36.6 percent more severe even when alcohol was barely detectable in a driver's blood," said David Phillips, one of the primary researchers.

The study, published in the most recent issue of Addiction, examined federal statistics on fatal auto accidents from 1994 to 2008.

Specifically, these statistics revealed that drivers with a very low blood alcohol content are more at risk of being involved in serious/fatal crashes because 1) they are more likely to collide with another car, 2) less likely to be wearing a seatbelt and 3) more likely to speed.

Interestingly, the researchers believe that their results are so irrefutable that all U.S. states should consider permanently lowering their legal limits.

What do you think?

Being arrested for drunk driving can have a serious impact on your life in a number of ways and result in various penalties. In fact, many of these penalties are much more serious than the mere license suspension or revocation.

When faced with this scenario, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...

Related Resources:

Drunk driving: Even a trace of alcohol is dangerous on the road, says study (ABC News)

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