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Sobering report says legal drinking limit might not be low enough

A recently released report indicates that North Carolina’s legal limit for alcohol might be too high. The study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that drivers with blood-alcohol concentrations (BAC) below the legal limit of .08 percent still account for 15 percent of all alcohol-related motor vehicle crash fatalities in the U.S.

“Our study challenges the popular misconception that alcohol-involved crashes primarily affect drinking drivers, or that BACs below the legal limit don’t matter,” said Dr. Timothy Naimi of Boston Medical Center.

Of the deaths in the below-limit crashes, 55 percent were people other than the drinking driver, a recent news report on the research stated. The deadly accidents were also “more likely to result in youth fatalities compared with crashes above the legal BAC limit,” the ScienceDaily article stated.

While North Carolina and 48 other states have a .08 percent BAC, Utah adopted the lowest legal limit in the nation two years ago when in 2018 it put in place a .05 percent BAC limit.

Both the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend lowering the legal BAC limit from .08 percent to .05 percent – and this new study strongly suggests that it would be the smart and safe thing to do.

The new research shows that stricter alcohol policies are linked to a 9 percent decrease in the odds that a wreck will involve alcohol at levels below the legal limits.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a drunk driver, contact a Raleigh attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.


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