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The relationship between BAC and fatal motor vehicle accidents

Many Colorado residents mistakenly believe that if their blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit of .08 they are okay to drive. Unfortunately, that is not always true. A BAC of as little as .02 can affect the way an individual drives. Drivers who consume any amount of alcohol could cause fatal motor vehicle accidents.

A driver with a BAC of .02 could already have compromised judgment, vision and ability to perform two tasks at once. Every driver knows that driving requires the ability to multi-task, so even at this level a driver could be dangerous. At .05, a driver experiences some loss of coordination, difficulty steering and further loss of judgment, among other things.

By the time a driver's BAC reaches .08, he or she is already a danger to everyone on the road. For instance, in 2014, 1,764 people died in accidents involving a driver whose BAC was under .08. Some people experience the effects of alcohol faster and more intensely than others do. The only truly safe BAC when it comes to driving is zero. Unfortunately, this knowledge does not necessarily keep people from driving after consuming alcohol.

When Colorado families lose loved ones in fatal motor vehicle accidents, they retain the right to file wrongful death claims against the driver believed to be responsible. They should know that just because a driver's BAC was not at or over the legal limit, that does not mean that alcohol did not play a factor in the crash. Evidence of ingesting any alcohol immediately prior to a fatal accident could help establish a driver's negligence.

Source: nhtsa.gov, "Drunk Driving", Accessed on March 6, 2017

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