Texas has a blood alcohol content limit of .08 percent. This means that a person is considered to be too intoxicated to drive if his or her blood alcohol content is .08 or higher and these people are more likely to cause a DWI accident. Every state adopted this limit by 2004, when the federal government announced that states with higher BAC limits would forfeit their federal highway construction funding. Now, The National Transportation Safety Board is encouraging states to drop their limits even further – to .05 percent.
The lower BAC recommendation is controversial, as many drivers hit the .05 level after only one or two drinks. Studies show, however, that drivers greatly increase their risks of causing car accidents after consuming a minimal amount of alcohol.
One recent study, which has been published by the British Medical Journal, involved an analysis of crash data dating from 1994 to 2011. The researchers focused their work on accidents that involved drivers who had consumed alcohol, but who were within the legally acceptable BAC range.
The researchers found that drivers whose BAC measured at only .01 percent were 46 percent more likely to be deemed responsible for car accidents. The researchers concluded that “buzzed” and even “minimally buzzed” drivers cause many serious car accidents – far more so than sober drivers.
The study noted that “buzzed” drivers are not likely to face criminal consequences after causing crashes.
The lead sociologist on the study, David Phillips, explained, “We find no safe combination of drinking and driving – no point at which it is harmless to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car.” He went on to say that the data supports decreasing the BAC even lower than .05 percent.
Time will tell whether Texas will heed the calls of the NTSB and this study. For now, victims of drunk or buzzed drivers need to be aware that they may have the right to hold the drivers accountable and obtain compensation for their injuries. It can be beneficial to seek legal counsel in the aftermath of a drunk driving car accident to learn about one’s rights.
Source: Claims Journal, “Even Very Low BAC Levels Associated With Causing Car Crashes,” Jan. 17, 2014