Motorists are aware of the consequences of drunk driving, yet many of them do it anyway. Some may have driven impaired on numerous occasions without causing an accident or getting caught. Others may simply drive buzzed, or at a low enough blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to pass a Breathalyzer test.
Not all drivers are the same. And depending on their level of tolerance, low amounts of alcohol can render them unfit to be behind the wheel.
Can a low BAC level be dangerous?
The BAC limit has been 0.08 percent since 1990. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ Research and Development Branch, this has had a positive impact on reducing drunk driving accidents. However, statistics show that even a legal BAC level can result in traffic accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 10,497 people in the US lost their lives due to drunk driving in 2016. That accounted for nearly 29 deaths each day, and one death every 50 minutes. Approximately 2,017 of those fatalities occurred in crashes involving drunk drivers with BAC levels of .01 to .07.
While it may be legal, drivers can still be impaired at lower BAC level as low as .02. This typically involves some loss of coordination, judgment, and reaction time. BAC levels of .05 can affect drivers’ alertness, steering wheel control, and ability to take evasive measures to prevent a crash.
How prevalent is drunk driving in California?
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety 2017 annual report (the latest report), California had a total of 3,623 traffic fatalities in 2016. 1,059 of those were caused by drunk driving. Additionally, in a survey of 1,368 drivers ages 18 and older in 15 counties statewide, 22.9 percent of respondents believed that drunk driving posed the biggest safety risk on California roadways.
The attorneys at Clancy & Diaz, LLP have seen how devastating drunk driving accidents can be in greater Walnut Creek. We understand the impact a single crash can have on accident victims and their families. We’ll fight aggressively to hold negligent drivers accountable for their accidents, so you can focus on recovery.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, contact us for a free consultation.