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Even low BACs can lead to drunk driving accidents

The recent St. Patrick's Day holiday had many police and media throughout Virginia warning against driving while intoxicated. One media outlet even published a blood alcohol content table for readers, explicitly defining the amount of alcohol it takes to impair a driver's judgment behind the wheel. According to the Virginia Tech Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center, just one drink can negatively affect driving skills, therefore even light drinkers can cause a drunk driving accident.

The Virginia Tech center defines one drink as containing 1.25 ounces of alcohol that is 80-proof. Alternatively, one drink can be defined as 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of table wine. Many Virginians consume these drinks at restaurants or bars, though, meaning the drinking glass or serving size for one drink can be much larger than defined above. The only manner in which drivers can be fully assured of safety, then, is to not drink at all or utilize a taxi service or designated driver.

For each 40 minutes of drinking, people can subtract just .01 percent of alcohol from their system, as that is the general rate at which alcohol leaves the human body slowly over time. However, staying longer at a bar or restaurant can lead to the temptation to drink even more, so drivers are again encouraged to abstain from alcohol completely if they know they're going to operate any type of vehicle.

Driving with even a relatively low BAC can put a person over Virginia's .08 legal limit, of course, but it can also spur crossing lanes or a head-on collision. Victims, unfortunately, can be fellow drivers who themselves opted for safety but still crossed paths with a drunk driver. While no one can anticipate becoming the victim of a crash, everyone can consult with an experienced attorney in order to avoid being victimized further.

Source:, "How many drinks will get you a DUI? (chart)," Becky Brindle, March 16, 2013

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