Drunk Driving and Blood Alcohol Content

Every day in the United States, at least 30 people are killed in drunk-driving accidents. That comes out to one victim every 45 minutes. In 2020, there were more than 11,600 people killed in alcohol-related accidents, almost 15 percent than the year before. Victims of drunk driving accidents are entitled to pursue damages against the drunk driver for the losses they have suffered. If they die from their injuries, their family can file a wrongful death lawsuit. A Virginia personal injury attorney can help.

An accurate blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading is necessary evidence in determining whether a driver’s level of intoxication is over the legal limit. Because this test is so important, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a chart explaining the effects of alcohol at each BAC level and how a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle may be impaired.

BAC Levels

The CDC’s report includes the following information on BAC readings:

  • A 0.02 percent reading indicates that a person has consumed around two alcoholic beverages. The effects of this amount of alcohol include relaxation, altered mood, and a decline in judgment. Drivers with this BAC level may also experience reduced visual function and a lowered ability to multi-task.
  • A 0.05 percent BAC reading is the equivalent of approximately three alcoholic drinks. A person with this level of alcohol in his or her system may begin to exhibit loss of small-muscle control, impaired judgment, and reduced alertness. For an inebriated driver, this often translates to trouble steering, impaired coordination, the inability to respond quickly to emergencies, and difficulty tracking objects in motion.
  • A BAC level of 0.08 percent is the equivalent of around four alcoholic drinks and represents the legal limit for drivers nationwide. A person with this BAC will begin to exhibit poor muscle coordination, impaired reasoning, and a lack of self-control. Drivers will experience an inability to control speed and respond to changing lights or unexpected vehicles.
  • A reading of 0.10 percent indicates that a driver has consumed approximately five drinks. Drivers with this amount of alcohol in their systems, experience a severe drop in reaction time and control, which is usually evidenced by an inability to stay in their lane or brake when needed.
  • A 0.15 percent reading represents the consumption of around seven alcoholic beverages. A person at this level of intoxication will begin to exhibit decreased muscle control and a severe loss of balance. A driver’s ability to control a vehicle will be substantially impaired, and he or she will struggle with focusing and processing auditory and visual information.

Contact a Virginia Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions you may take to stay safe, there are far too many other drivers on the road who fail to do the same. If you are injured in a drunk driving accident, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal options you may have.

The legal team from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation.