In Massachusetts, if a police officer suspects you of drunk driving, they will conduct a breathalyzer test to confirm it. If the machine reads 0.08 BAC, you’ll be automatically arrested. But, if it reads 0.07 BAC and below, you may get a pass because the law assumes that a person can function properly under those limits. However, this is not always the case.
Understanding buzzed driving and why it is dangerous
While 0.08 BAC is the legal limit for drunk driving, buzzed driving occurs at lower levels of alcohol in the blood. For example, a person with a BAC of 0.05 is considered buzzed, not drunk. Though it may not seem like a big difference, it can be significant when it comes to reaction time and coordination. One study found that drivers with a BAC of 0.02 were twice more likely to get into an accident than sober drivers.
Buzz driving arrests
Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This means you can be arrested for buzzed driving if an officer believes you are impaired.
Also, unlike other states, Massachusetts does not have a “per se” BAC limit for drunk driving. You can be arrested for drunk driving even if your BAC is below 0.08%.
In addition, a person can be held at fault for drunk driver accidents, even if their BAC is below the legal limit if it can be proven that the alcohol they consumed was a contributing factor to the accident. You could face penalties of wrongful death (if someone dies as a result of the crash), pay for the victims’ damages and lost wages and a court fine.
Buzzed driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. So, if you’re going to drink, even just a bottle of beer, it’s helpful to have a designated driver or take a cab/Uber. It’s not worth risking your life or the lives of others, and you don’t want a DUI record to your name. It may be a misdemeanor, but it can affect almost every aspect of your life.