Everyone knows that alcohol reduces a driver’s coordination and reaction time. When a person drives above the legal blood alcohol concentration or BAC, said person faces DUI charges. When involved in an accident that harms another person, he or she is also liable for those damages. What happens when the driver’s BAC is below the legal limit?

Are drivers who drink but do not exceed the legal limit safe drivers? According to U.S. News, they are also dangerous drivers.

How often are drivers involved in accidents below the legal limit?

Many people believe that in a motor vehicle accident, lower blood alcohol concentrations do not matter. Instead, studies show that in crashes with fatalities where one driver drank ahead of time, about 15 percent of all those drivers had alcohol levels below the legal limit. In addition, these accidents are more likely to include young drivers, compared to the accidents that occur above the legal limit.

Could a lower legal BAC reduce the chance of fatal crashes?

Other countries have lower legal BAC limits. Some have a limit of .05 percent. At this percentage, countries do see a decline in crashes. The decline is about a nine percent decline. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommend a BAC limit that is no higher than .05%.  Impairment happens below the legal limit. Due to the limit, some may mistakenly believe that they can drive at a lower level without being a risk to themselves or anyone else. For some, impairment begins with as little alcohol as .03 percent.