A recent study by Dr. Timothy Naimi, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, shows that approximately 15% of drunk driving related road deaths in the United states involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration below the legal limit.
Dr. Naimi’s team of researchers at Boston Medical Center analyzed 16 years of U.S. motor vehicle crash data (2000-2015). The team’s findings were in stark contrast of conventional wisdom related to impaired driving accidents. They discovered that 37% of approximately 612,000 motor vehicle deaths during this time frame involved at least one driver with alcohol in their system.
The astounding discovery was that of those cases involving a driver with alcohol in their blood, 15% involved a driver with a BAC below the legal limit of 0.08%. “Our study challenges the popular misconception that alcohol-involved crashes primarily affect drinking drivers, or that BACs below the legal limit don’t matter,” said study lead investigator Dr. Timothy Naimi, of Boston Medical Center.
Tragically, 55% of the deaths in such cases involved people other than the drunk driver. The demographic most impacted by alcohol-related road deaths below the 0.08% legal limit were young people.
States such as Utah and countries around the world have already begun to lower the BAC legal limit to 0.05%, and they are beginning to see a decline in traffic accidents. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have already recommended reducing legal BAC limit to 0.05%. Dr. Naimi went on to say, “Our research suggests that stringent alcohol policies reduce the likelihood of fatal accidents involving drivers with all levels of alcohol blood concentration.”
Drinking and driving remains near the top of the list regarding injury-related death in the United States. Physicians such as Dr. Robert Glatter believe that impairment can occur at a BAC of 0.03%. Dr. Glatter stated the new research “”provides ample evidence that impairment occurs well below the legal limit, putting other drivers and pedestrians also at high risk for serious injury and death. It further argues for the need to lower the limit to .05 [percent] or even .03 to reduce injuries and death.”
Drunk driving has impacted many people’s lives, and The Arrive Alive Tour has spent over a decade combating this issue. Our impaired driving virtual reality simulator is adjustable to any BAC level to give participants a firsthand experience to the dangers of drunk driving in a controlled environment.
Are you educating your community to make better decisions behind the wheel regarding impaired driving? Join us in combating buzzed and drunk driving by calling Arrive Alive today to see how we may be able to work together to make the roads a safer place. Good Decisions Prevent Collisions.
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