Skip 
Navigation Link

1215 South Walnut Ave.
Demopolis, AL 36732 map map 

Access to Care: 1-800-239-2901

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
'Green Prescriptions' May Backfire for SomePreventive Health Care Falls by Wayside During PandemicSmoking Bans Don't Work If Not Enforced, NYC Study FindsTelemedicine Out of Reach for Those Who Can't Get OnlineLies Spread on Social Media May Mean Fewer Vaccinations1 in 3 Americans Prescribed Inappropriate DrugsColon Cancer Screening Should Start at Age 45: Task ForceWhat Will It Take for People to Embrace a COVID Vaccine?What Will Convince Americans to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?CDC Recommends Face Masks in All Public Transportation SettingsInsured Patients Are Getting Surprise Bills After ColonoscopiesBogus 'Cure' Claims Have U.S. Consumers Snapping Up CBD ProductsPediatricians' Group Tackles Racism in Health CareAs Virtual Doctor Visits Spike, Concerns About Equity, Missed Diagnoses GrowWas FDA Lax in Approving Opioids Too Easily?Allowing More Gay Men to Donate Corneas Could Save Sight for Thousands: StudyAccuracy of COVID-19 Antibody Tests Varies Widely, Study FindsCould Drones Delivering Defibrillators Save Lives?Statins Going Generic Saved Medicare BillionsAHA News: Looming Wave of Evictions, Housing Instability Pose Threat to HealthAHA News: Health Apps Pose Privacy Risks, But Experts Offer This AdviceCould You Save a Life After Mass Violence? Most Americans Say NoGun Violence Costs U.S. Health Care System $170 Billion AnnuallyWith COVID Vaccine in Works, 1 in 5 Americans Doesn't Believe in ShotsTelehealth Skyrocketing Among Older AdultsPharmacists in All U.S. States Can Give Kids Childhood ShotsAHA News: COVID-19's Economic Fallout Expands Food Insecurity, as Groups Scramble to HelpCOVID-19 Clinical Trials Lack Diversity, Researchers SayLook Beyond Fossil Fuels to Curb Air PollutionTelemedicine Is Here: Experts Offer Tips for SeniorsMany Older Adults Can't Connect With Telehealth: StudyAHA News: High-Speed Internet Offers Key Connection to Health, But Millions Lack It11 States Could Face ICU Doc Shortages as Coronavirus Cases SurgeWill the Telemedicine Boom Outlast the Pandemic?Yet Another Study Finds Vaccines Are SafeIn Rush to Publish, Most COVID-19 Research Isn't Reliable, Experts SayWith Tighter Handgun Laws, U.S. Would See Fewer Suicides by Young PeoplePandemic Has ER Docs Stressed Out and Weary: SurveyU.S. Air Quality Got Better During Pandemic: StudyColon Cancer Tests by Mail Might Boost ScreeningWill CPR Save Your Life? Study Offers a Surprising AnswerWill COVID Pandemic's Environmental Benefit Last?AHA News: As Pandemic Disrupts Research, Scientists Look for New Ways ForwardAmericans Lag Behind Brits When It Comes to HealthBan Menthol Cigarettes, Lower Smoking Rates?Tech Is Keeping More Americans in Touch With DoctorsEven Small Reductions in Air Pollution Help The HeartHigh Costs Lead Millions of Americans to Shop Abroad for Rx DrugsPandemic Hits Primary Care Practices Hard Across the U.S.: StudyOne-Time Treatment Eases Parkinson's -- in Mice
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

Many Car Crash Deaths Involve Alcohol Levels Below Legal Limit: Study

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Mar 16th 2020

new article illustration

MONDAY, March 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- About 15% of alcohol-related road deaths in the United States involve drivers with blood alcohol concentrations below the legal limit, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed 16 years (2000 to 2015) of U.S. motor vehicle crash data. They found that 37% of the more than 600,000 motor vehicle deaths during that time involved at least one driver with alcohol in their blood.

But of those cases, 15% involved drivers with below the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08%, and 55% of the deaths in such cases involved people other than the drinking driver.

"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 study lead investigator Dr. Timothy Naimi, of Boston Medical Center. His team published the findings March 15 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

There was another tragic finding: Crashes involving blood alcohol levels below the 0.08% legal limit were more likely to result in deaths to young people, compared to crashes involving blood alcohol levels above that cutoff.

The study also found that more restrictive alcohol policies were associated with a 9% decrease in the likelihood that a crash involved alcohol at levels below the legal limit. This relationship was consistent across a wide range of subgroups and at a blood alcohol cutoff of 0.05%.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have already recommended reducing the legal BAC limit from 0.08% to 0.05%. In 2018, Utah became the first state to do so.

Other countries that have adopted the 0.05% limit have had declines in traffic crashes, Naimi's team pointed out.

"Lower-alcohol crashes have been underestimated as a public health problem," Naimi said in a journal news release. "Our research suggests that stringent alcohol policies reduce the likelihood of fatal accidents involving drivers with all levels of alcohol blood concentration."

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, has seen the tragic consequences of drunk driving firsthand.

He wasn't involved in the new research, but said it "provides ample evidence that impairment occurs well below the legal limit, putting other drivers and pedestrians also at high risk for serious injury and death. It further argues for the need to lower the limit to .05 [percent] or even .03 to reduce injuries and death."

Drinking and driving remains one of the leading causes of injury-related death in the United States, the Boston researchers said. However, most research on the topic focuses on alcohol above the legal limit of 0.08%, but impairment can begin at a BAC as low as 0.03%, they said.

Glatter agreed.

"The bottom line is that if you drink any amount of alcohol, you should not be behind the wheel," he said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on drinking and driving.