Is Buzzed Driving Drunk Driving?

Most everyone knows not to let a drunk person get behind the wheel. It’s a piece of common sense ingrained into us through commercials, billboards, public service campaigns, and any outlet discussing safe drinking habits. However, most people are unsure if the same applies to buzzed driving. That raises an intriguing question: Is buzzed driving drunk driving?

What is Drunk Driving?

The law defines drunk driving as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. That number, 0.08%, is where most people experience serious visual impairment, as well as reduced concentration and coordination.

On the other hand, buzzed driving doesn’t have an official legal definition. Most consider a buzz to lie within the range of 0.02%- 0.07% BAC. Driving while under this limit is not illegal, but a police officer may choose to detain drivers who seem unsafe to drive, regardless of their BAC.

Does a Buzz Impair Driving Ability?

Emerging research suggests any impaired driving dramatically increases the risk of causing an accident. Some researchers have even suggested that any BAC above 0.00% makes someone unsafe to drive and more likely to cause a crash.

Understanding the risks requires an analysis of how BAC affects people.

· 0.02%: Slight vision distortion, reduced reaction times, easily distracted.

· 0.05%: Difficulty tracking moving objects, slowed reactions, poor coordination.

· 0.08%: Blurred vision, reduction of fine motor skills, impacted decision making.

Keep in mind that, legally, a driver is considered “safe” until 0.08% BAC, despite the obvious risks. A study by the University of California San Diego found that even a driver at 0.01% BAC is 40% more likely to be found at-fault for a car accident.

The message is clear: Buzzed driving is drunk driving.

If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a drunk driving accident, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced Minot personal injury attorney from Pringle & Herigstad to evaluate your claim, please send us an email or call (855) 245-5100.