Many people are aware that the legal limit of alcohol intoxication is 0.08 grams per hundred milliliters of blood. This true in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and across the United States. The reason for this is because Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was able to lobby to create a national standard for drunk driving. The way this was accomplished was to tell any state not willing to lower the legal limit to 0.08 percent it would not get full highway funding. Legal scholars refer to this as Congress’ power to control the purse strings.
While it does not mean that someone who has been drinking is safe to drive merely because his her blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit, if their BAC is above the legal limit, it is presumed they are intoxicated in a court of law.
Boston alcohol-related accident attorneys know some people drink to a point of intoxication way above the legal limit and still get behind the wheel of a car. According to a recent KAAL TV article, one driver was recently arrested with an alleged BAC of .45. This driver was arrested by officers involved in a campaign to stop drunk driving during the holiday season. As you are likely aware, we tend to see many more incidences of drunk driving during the holiday season.
To put this in context, it is necessary to look how alcohol can affect a human being at different levels of concentration. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has performed extensive research into the physical and mental effects of alcohol in terms of human toxicology.
With a BAC of 0.08, a person is considered legally intoxicated. He or she should experience mild to moderate slurring of speech, reduced reaction time, vision and hearing trouble, impairment of judgment and self-control, and increased likelihood of making poor choices.
If we jump up to .16 (twice the legal limit), a person will be considered very intoxicated. He or she will have serious problems walking and talking and may not be able to stand up without assistance. The person will probably have seriously blurred vision and very slow reaction time.
Moving up to .30 or higher, drinker is expected to be in an alcohol induced stupor according to NHTSA. Drinker is likely to pass out without warning. As you can see, it would be very difficult to even drive a car at this point, let alone do so safely.
Finally, research shows us at blood alcohol level of above .40, a person is likely to go into a coma, heartbeat and breathing will be slowed to a dangerous level, and death is possible due to respiratory failure. Basically a person with a BAC of .45 is a close to death as possible from drinking alcohol. If someone manages to physically get behind the wheel of a car in this condition, this conduct will rise to such a high degree of negligence that additional punitive damages may be awarded beyond compensatory damages, which are the standard measure of damages in a drunk driving accident case.
If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
A New Option to Test Your BAC Before Heading Home, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, August 10, 2013