It goes without saying that driving while impaired can cause harm to the driver, his or her passengers and other road users. However, exactly how dangerous is driving under the influence? Is it dangerous to drive “buzzed” even if the BAC content is under the legal limit?
A new study cited by U.S. News suggests buzzed driving can prove unsafe as well. It reports that 37% of the traffic accident deaths from 2000 to 2015 involved at least one driver with alcohol detected in the blood. However, 15% of these drivers had a BAC level below 0.08%. When this was the case, more than half of the time, someone other than the drunk driver died.
Public health approach
These findings and others compelled Florida and many other areas to treat drunk driving as a public health problem. This encouraged lawmakers, social workers and even doctors to find solutions that did not punish drunk drivers, but rather, put them in a better position to get help.
Some lawmakers also considered lowering the BAC to 0.05%. This better takes into account people who drive buzzed and cause accidents, but it might also lead to more DUI arrests in a system not yet primed for rehab over punishment.
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles government-run website has created campaigns in English and Spanish to combat impaired driving. These campaigns target not only drunk driving, but also “baked” driving.
The campaign reminds drivers that the consequences of driving impaired are costly. From expensive fines to a tarnished record, there are many reasons drivers might try to cover up the BAC level in a drunk driving accident.