Study: Even small amounts of alcohol increases drivers’ risk for crashes

Based on the findings of one study, even motorists with minimal amounts of alcohol in their system pose an increased risk of causing fatal car crashes.

Despite knowing the dangers, people in West New York, and elsewhere, still choose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Often, those who make this choice do so because they feel that they have not had too much to drink to still drive safely. Others may mistakenly believe that they actually drive better after having a few drinks. Based on one study's findings, however, even those who have consumed only a small amount of alcohol may have a greater risk of causing fatal collisions than sober drivers.

Why is drinking and driving dangerous?

Much of the danger that drinking alcoholic beverages poses for motorists is due to the effects that alcohol has on the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the most common effects of alcohol include the following:

• Decreased visual functions

• Reduced ability to multitask

• Difficulty steering

• Impaired speed and vehicle control

• Decline in auditory and visual information processing

As a result of these, and other impairments, drivers may lack the ability to safely operate their motor vehicles. Furthermore, they may have difficulties respond to situations and hazards that may arise on the road. Often, this contributes to auto accidents, which commonly result in serious injuries and fatalities for the drunk drivers themselves, as well as the occupants of the other vehicles involved.

Study examines accident risk for drivers with low BAC levels

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego conducted a study to determine if minimally buzzed drivers were more likely than sober drivers to cause motor vehicle accidents. Using information from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the researchers studied the records for 570,731 fatal crashes, which occurred between 1994 and 2011. In particular, the researchers focused on those drivers with a blood alcohol content level of 0.01 to 0.07. The study examined the relationship between the degree to which motorists were assigned sole official blame for crashes and their BAC levels.

Drinking and driving at any BAC level is hazardous

Based on the study's findings, even those drivers with minimal alcohol in their system have an increased risk of causing auto accidents. The Huffington Post reported that the study found the risk of being the official sole cause of a collision was 46 percent higher for those with a BAC level of 0.01 percent. As such, it appears that drivers who have consumed any amounts of alcohol pose an increased danger to themselves, and others.

Seeking legal guidance

When people in New Jersey suffer injuries in drunk driving accidents, they commonly require medical treatment and care. This may lead to undue expenses and, in some cases, lost income during their recovery. Depending on the circumstances, the negligent drivers who cause such collisions may be held liable for these, and other damages. Therefore, those who have experienced this type of situation may benefit from working with an attorney to understand their rights and options.