You probably know that the legal blood-alcohol limit for alcohol for drivers in Virginia is .08 percent. Technically, this means that it is not against the law to drive with a lower BAL, as long as you do not cause an accident. You probably have also seen or heard about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving” public service message campaign.
For years, the NHTSA has run TV commercials, billboards and other mass media messages warning us that driving with a BAL above zero can cause car accidents with deadly or life-changing injuries to innocent people. According to the agency, in 2020, a total of 2,041 people died in collisions with drivers with BALs between .01 to .07 percent.
Alcohol’s effects before the legal driving limit
Despite the legal limit being .08 percent, alcohol generally begins affecting a drinker’s physical and mental faculties at lower levels.
- .02 BAL: reduced vision and ability to multitask
- .05 BAL: reduced coordination and ability to track moving objects
- .08 BAL: impaired concentration and ability to think, short-term memory loss
Criminal and personal injury law are two separate categories. Just because someone was not over the legal limit when they crashed into it, it does not mean that their decision to drink and drive was not the cause of your injuries. You have the right to seek compensation in that situation. A serious wreck can lead to long-term disability that costs you income and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. The driver responsible for the crash, not you, should have to pay those costs.