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  1. BitterSweet
    19650.jpg Drivers may think they have the green light to drive when their blood alcohol levels fall below the legal limit or the buzz wears off, but that's not the case, says a Purdue University expert.

    "It's more than just a number, and my advice is to not drink and drive at all because there really is no safe level," says Julia Chester, an associate professor of psychological sciences who studies genetic differences and sensitivity to alcohol effects. "Impairment means the driver's reflexes and attention are limited, and someone who's been drinking could be impaired by withdrawal effects or fatigue even if the level of alcohol in their blood is metabolized to a lower level. This is especially something to consider for people who have been drinking all day in hot weather during a summer holiday weekend party. The buzz may be gone, but the aftereffects of consuming so much alcohol could still hinder your ability to drive a car."

    Chester says the blood alcohol content number provides a false sense of security because it's a snapshot of alcohol's effects. The current federally approved legal level, also known as BAC, is .08. Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that states lower the level to .05 in an effort to reduce traffic fatalities.

    "Each person and situation is different, and the question is to what degree will it impair you," Chester says. "Various individual considerations that relate to alcohol impairment include how much food someone has consumed, what medications have been taken and how rested is the driver. Genetics play a role, and an individuals' genetic and experiential history may make them more sensitive to alcohol's cognitive- and motor-impairing effects."

    Author: Medical News Today
    Date: May 24, 2013


  1. longwalk
    Thank you for posting this article. People need to be aware of the somewhat subjective and nuanced application of the law. Something as mathematically simple and scientific as a BAC, does not paint the whole picture, legally or as regards the actual level of impairment. But it does at least provide a maximum, where a driver knows he or she risks certain legal trouble, if caught behind the wheel.
  2. Diverboone
    In my State the BAC is just a piece of evidence, but not a requirement. All that has to be proved is "impairment". "Impairment" does not require alcohol at all. One can be impaired from taking their legally prescribed medication.
    Most DUI cases are settled before they ever go to trial. But once it does go to trial that's when the term impairment will be heard the most. The DA will make sure the jury fully understands this. I was a jury member years ago, this term we heard over and over. Your average person is not very educated in matters of law. An older lady on the jury, made this statement "he has to be guilty of something, they arrested him." Needless to say, she was informed by many just how faulty her thoughts were. The jury was hung, but that is not the norm for my state. TN
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