SAN DIEGO DUI update: According to a new DUI study, no amount of alcohol seems to be safe for driving. Published in the journal Addiction, this pro-MADD study comes on the heels of the death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn in a fiery crash on Monday in his 2007 Porsche 911 GT3.
Researchers say they are pushing U.S. legislators to lower the legal blood-alcohol content level of 0.08 “even more.” They note that blood-alcohol content limits vary greatly around the globe, with countries such as Japan and Sweden adopting what essentially amounts to a zero-tolerance policy. In Sweden, the limit is 0.02; in Japan the limit is 0.03.
The study, which is entitled “Buzz Kills: No Amount of Alcohol Safe To Drive,” finds that blood-alcohol levels well below the U.S. legal limit are associated with “incapacitating injury and death.”
“Accidents are 36.6 percent more severe even when alcohol was barely detectable in a driver’s blood,” said David Phillips, a University of California, San Diego sociologist and study co-author.
The claimed study notes even with a minimal blood-alcohol content of 0.01, there are 4.33 serious injuries for every non-serious injury versus 3.17 for sober drivers.
The claim is that the greater the blood-alcohol content, the greater the average speed of the driver and the greater the severity of the accident.
“Compared with sober drivers, buzzed drivers are more likely to speed, more likely to be improperly seat-belted and more likely to drive the striking vehicle, all of which are associated with greater severity.”
This claim used official data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System that includes information on all persons in the U.S. who were involved in fatal car accidents — 1,495,667 from 1994-2008.
“We hope that our study might influence not only U.S. legislators, but also foreign legislators, in providing empirical evidence for lowering the legal BAC even more,” said Phillips. Lawyers do not necessarily agree.