Tipsy Driving is Still Drunk Driving

No amount of alcohol is safe for driving

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The blood-alcohol limit in the U.S. is 0.08, which is significantly higher than any other country. What do they know that we don’t? Are our limits too high?

Germany, Japan and Sweden have lower blood-alcohol limits than the United States and for good reason! Researchers have found that drivers who have any amount of alcohol in the blood can cause severe injury and death.

"Don’t drink and drive – call a cab."

David Phillips and Kimberly M. Brewer, from the University of California, San Diego, found that drivers with even 0.01 blood-alcohol content (BAC) levels had 36.6 percent more severe accidents - especially during summer months – June through August – between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.

The researchers used the Fatality Analysis Reporting Systems (FARS) to gather and analyze the data for this study. The FARS has complete and comprehensive data from all over the U.S. for any person who was involved in a fatal car accident.

After reviewing all the data, Phillips and team also found that higher BAC was linked to higher average driving speeds and more serious accidents. The results were the same when researchers accounted for not paying attention and fatigue.

Drivers who are buzzed/tipsy are more likely to drive, not wear a seat-belt, and speed compared to sober drivers, says Phillips, which are all linked to more severe accidents.

Phillips says this research shows that U.S. legislators should re-think BAC limits. Lowering the limits will reduce injuries and potentially save lives, he concludes.

The research is published in the journal Addiction.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 24, 2011
Last Updated:
June 29, 2011