Look out for Don (or Donna) Driver: drinking and car accident risk

Monday March 24, 2014

It’s been nearly seven years now since the hit series “Mad Men” began on cable TV. The stylish show, set in the early 1960’s, famously features copious quantities of alcohol consumption.

No matter how stylishly packaged, however, the reality is that free-flowing booze too easily spills over into impaired driving – which of course raises the risk of car accidents.

In this post, we will discuss the issue of drunk-driving accidents in the light of recent research findings that even very slight alcohol consumption leads to elevated car accident risk.

The findings were widely reported earlier this year. For a representative press account of the research, click here.

The researchers looked at national data on fatal car crashes between the years 1994 and 2011. After reviewing data from more than 570,000 collisions, they concluded there is no such thing as a safe level of alcohol impairment.

According to the research, even drivers with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .01 were 46 percent more likely than sober drivers to be solely faulted for a crash.

In other words, buzzed driving is not some amusing “Mad Men”-type stunt. It is essentially another form of drunk driving, even if the threshold for criminal DWI charges has not been met.

To be sure, it does not take a lot of drinking to generate a .01 BAC. For an adult male, it may be as little as half a bottle of beer – and a 12 ounce beer at that, not some oversized bottle.

If you have been injured in a drunk-driving accident, or someone close to you has been killed, you will probably not be surprised by these findings. But you may be encouraged to pursue your claims for compensation.

For information about our firm’s practice, please visit our page on car accidents.

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