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Is buzzed driving just as dangerous as drunk driving?

Drunk driving causes many car accidents every year in Massachusetts and throughout the country. Drunk driving is very dangerous, and safety groups continue to raise awareness to the dangers of getting behind the wheel if you are intoxicated. However, safety groups may need to address the dangers of driving after just one or two drinks, according to a new study.

The study claims that buzzed driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, and the researchers have findings to back up these eye-opening claims. Researchers from the University of California in San Diego said that drivers with a blood alcohol content of even 0.01 percent causes more fatal car accidents than sober drivers in the United States. 

What is considered buzzed driving? Buzzed driving is when a driver has a BAC of 0.01 percent to 0.07 percent. While driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is illegal in Massachusetts, buzzed driving can be just as dangerous, according to the researchers.

The study found that drivers with a BAC of just 0.01 percent are 46 percent more likely to cause an accident compared to sober drivers. The study also claims that the chances of causing a car accident increases the higher a driver's BAC percentage is.

The fact that drivers can legally operate a vehicle when their BAC is 0.07 percent is disturbing, especially since many people believe they can safely drive home after having a few drinks. The study finds that this belief is not true, and drivers with even a low amount of alcohol in their system are more likely to be in a car accident compared to sober drivers.

The researchers said that drinking and driving is very dangerous, even for drivers who are buzzed and not drunk. They also said that their findings help support the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation to lower the legal limit to 0.05 percent to keep dangerous drivers off the road. 

Even if the NTSB recommendations are taken to heart, it would still mean that drivers with a 0.01 BAC could legally drive and potentially cause accidents. Drivers should take this study to heart and think twice before they get behind the wheel when they feel buzzed. 

Source: red Orbit, "Study Confirms Minimally Buzzed Driving Just As Deadly As .08+," Lee Rannals, Jan. 16, 2014

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