Most people in California understand that driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the legal limit of 0.08% impairs a driver and can lead to a drunk driving accident. However, even having a mere few drinks can impair a person to the point that they cannot drive safely, leading to a car crash.
Impairment after three drinks
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you have three standard-sized drinks such as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or a 1.5 ounce “shot” of 80-proof liquor, your BAC will be approximately 0.05%. While this is below the legal limit, it can still impair your driving. Your coordination and ability to track moving objects can be reduced. Steering your vehicle can become more difficult. You may also experience a reduction in your response time to emergency driving situations. Any of these factors can easily lead to a motor vehicle accident.
Impairment after two drinks
However, what if you only have two standard-sized drinks? Can you safely drive then? Perhaps not. Even if your BAC is as low as 0.02%, you could find it more difficult to rapidly track moving objects or perform more than one task at a time. As with three drinks, this could impair your driving abilities, leading to a car accident.
How big is the drunk driving problem in the U.S.?
The CDC reports that in 2016 over 10,000 individuals lost their lives in drunk driving crashes. This accounted for 28% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. Drunk driving needs to be taken seriously, even if your BAC is below the legal limit. If you were involved in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, you will want to explore your legal options for compensation, including the possibility of filing a lawsuit if appropriate.