Driving under the influence continues to threaten the safety of our nation’s roads and is a preventable cause of auto accidents.
A survey about drinking and driving conducted by The Zebra, a site that compares vehicle insurance rates, found that 50.2% of young people aged 18 to 24 use a rideshare every time they go out drinking. On the other hand, 55.9% percent of respondents of all ages said that they don’t use a rideshare no matter how much they’ve been drinking.
The carelessness of many drinkers is one reason for the debate about lowering the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at which a person may be considered legally intoxicated. Some organizations and federal officials contend that DUI and DWI laws should specify a threshold for maximum alcohol content in the blood that is lower than the current one. Others — for example, the American Beverage Institute — disagree.
Can a lower legal limit for blood alcohol concentration save lives?
A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study estimated that if states decreased the legal limit of BAC from .08 to .05 grams per deciliter, up to 1,790 lives could be saved yearly.
Over the last decade, more than 100,000 people have died in auto accidents involving at least one driver with a BAC of .08% or higher. That’s an average of more than 10,000 a year dying on our nation’s roads perhaps in whole or in part because of a drunk driver.
It’s a problem in Colorado too. Colorado Public Radio has reported that alcohol-related deaths in the state increased by 57 percent between 2005 and 2017, which is 20 percentage points higher than the average national growth during those years.
Factors Affecting Blood Alcohol Content
Just one drink may cause alcohol content to be detectable in your blood. What does more than one drink do? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes the factors that affect blood alcohol concentration.
- The most obvious is quantity. The more you drink, the higher your BAC.
- The faster you drink, the more your BAC will increase within a given span of time.
- Alcohol remains in the bloodstream of women longer than it remains in the bloodstream of men.
- Drinking on an empty stomach can increase your BAC more rapidly than drinking on a full stomach. When you drink on an empty stomach, alcohol is more rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, intensifying any disorienting effects.
Although Colorado has not yet lowered the legal BAC to .05 grams per deciliter, it is one of the states that has a lower limit for persons under age 21.
No matter how old you are, the safest thing you can do if you go out drinking is use a designated driver to get home or call for a ride.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a potentially impaired driver, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation.