SAN DIEGO, June 20 (UPI) -- The standard U.S. blood-alcohol limit may be 0.08 percent, but no amount of alcohol seems to be safe for driving, a sociologist says.
Study leader David Phillips and co-author Kimberly M. Brewer, both of the University of California, San Diego, examined official data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, including information on all people who were involved in fatal car accidents in the United States -- 1,495,667 from 1994 to 2008. The data reflect blood-alcohol content in increments of 0.01.
"Accidents are 36.6 percent more severe even when alcohol was barely detectable in a driver's blood," Phillips said in a statement.
The study, published in the journal Addiction, found even with a blood alcohol level of 0.01, there are 4.33 serious injuries for every non-serious injury vs. 3.17 for sober drivers.
"Compared with sober drivers, buzzed drivers are more likely to speed, more likely to be improperly seat-belted and more likely to drive the striking vehicle, all of which are associated with greater severity," Phillips said.
The study found the greater the blood-alcohol content, the greater the average speed of the driver and the greater the severity of the accident.