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Driving Impaired Begins With the First Drink

February 26, 2020 | Category: DUI

The National Safety Council (NSC) says, “Impairment begins with the first drink.” Even though every state in the U.S. has a limit of 0.08 at which a driver is legally impaired, research has shown that the majority of drivers’ driving performance has deteriorated significantly by the time the blood alcohol level (BAC) reaches this level.

An extensive scientific review was conducted by Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division (ADID) members of the NSC in 2014. The review examined crash risk at low alcohol concentrations and supports evidence that crash risk involving alcohol impairment begins at a lower level than 0.08 BAC and rapidly rises.

Crash risk for alcohol concentrations below 0.08:

  • After 0.03, the crash risk rises rapidly.
  • At 0.04, there is an 18 percent increased risk.
  • At 0.05, the risk is 40 percent higher than it is at zero alcohol concentration.

The ADID review found that:

  • Each drink of alcohol consumed increases the risk of crashing, beginning with the first drink.
  • It’s more than just the drivers. People who consumed only one drink were more likely to ride in a car with an alcohol-impaired driver, increasing their risk of crash involvement by almost four times.

To explain the increased crash risk at these low levels, ADID members reviewed studies on alcohol impairment at low alcohol concentrations. Research showed that alcohol impairment begins at very low alcohol concentrations, as low as 0.015.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that alcohol reduces the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. All of these abilities are essential to safely operate a vehicle.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says, “The impaired driving statistics are horrifying. The danger is real - and it can wreak life-changing devastation anytime, anywhere, in the blink of an eye. The destruction ripples out, impacting two out of three people in their lifetime.”

“If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. We have our experienced legal team ready to assist you 24/7. There are no costs or attorney fees unless we receive a monetary settlement for you,” said Fort Myers DUI Accident Attorney Randall Spivey.


Fort Myers DUI Accident Attorney Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one percent (1%) of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact  Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll-free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County at 239.793.7748.




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