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One Beer Can Be Too Much To Get Behind Wheel, San Diego Researcher Says

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Aired 1/16/14

New research from UC San Diego finds there’s no safe combination of drinking and driving.

UC San Diego researchers examined 570,731 fatal collisions in the United States. They used a federal database that tracks the blood alcohol levels of drivers involved in fatalities.

Researchers found drivers with a blood alcohol content of only .01 were 46 percent more likely to be found at fault than the sober drivers they collided with.

UCSD sociology professor emeritus David Phillips headed up the study. He said drivers who are well below the legal limit can be dangerous.

“It isn’t true that suddenly at BAC .08 you have to start worrying about alcohol. If you’re gonna start worrying about alcohol, you should start worrying at .01 instead of .08,” Phillips explained.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended lowering the legal BAC limit to .05 percent.

More than 100 countries observe that limit or have an even lower one.

Phillips said his research reveals there’s no point at which it’s harmless to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car.

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