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Were you hit by a drunk driver with a BAC of less than 0.08?

Just like everywhere else, one of the first questions law enforcement officers here in Mississippi ask in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident is whether impairment played a role. Even though the number of fatalities attributed to drunk driving has declined in recent years, the danger of being hit by a drunk driver remains. In fact, the driver does not even have to be considered legally intoxicated to be dangerous.

From the first drink, an individual’s demeanor begins to change. As he or she continues to drink alcohol, behavioral changes only increase. Even if a driver only has one or two drinks before getting behind the wheel, it could be enough to set the stage for a catastrophic accident.

A loss of judgment, diminished coordination, lack of concentration and more make it difficult to drive safely. Even at a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02, multitasking and visual function decline. If a driver cannot see well or handle more than one task at a time, how is he or she going to properly operate a motor vehicle? By the time a person’s BAC reaches 0.05, inhibitions, judgment and alertness all drop significantly enough to present a danger to others and has not even reached the legal limit of 0.08 here in Mississippi.

After being told they were hit by a drunk driver, most people assume that means the BAC of the other driver was at least 0.08, but that does not have to be the case. It does not take that level of intoxication to become dangerous to those with which they share the road. Even a lower level of intoxication could provide the evidence needed to prove negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death claim resulting from an accident involving a driver who has been drinking.

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