Study suggests older drivers face impairment even when below legal BAC limit
When it comes to drinking and driving in Pennsylvania, most drivers are
aware that operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level
of .08 is illegal and raises the risk of causing a serious accident.
But what about having one glass of wine, one bottle of beer or a single
mixed drink? If you think that’s a safe choice for everyone, think
again. According to
CBS News, recent research suggests that just one drink of an alcoholic beverage
might impair driving ability in people over 55 – even when these
drivers stay within legal BAC limits. The study was conducted by University
of Florida scientists to determine how one serving of alcohol affected
drivers ages 25-36 and 55-70.
As part of the study, drivers across both age groups were asked to take
a simulated driving test along a 3-mile stretch of winding road while
sober. The driving simulator included large computer monitors that simulated:
- The front and sides of a car
- A driving console
- Brake and gas pedal
- Other vehicles
- Ambient sounds
Researchers tracked the drivers’ ability to stay within their lanes,
ability to maintain a constant speed, and steering wheel use along the road.
On another day, drivers were divided into three groups:
- one given a non-alcoholic beverage
- one given an alcoholic beverage that produced a breathalyzer reading of
- another given an alcoholic beverage that raised the breathalyzer reading
to .065 percent
None of the drinks caused participants to hit the .08 legal limit, the
The study found that consuming a single alcoholic beverage had a significant
effect on older drivers, who exhibited “poorer precision”
and “a greater sensitivity to alcohol.” Officials from Mothers
Against Drunk Driving (MADD) told CBS News that it’s important for
older drivers to think about what they’ve had to eat, what medication
they’re taking, and how their body responds to alcohol after just
a single drink.another given an alcoholic beverage that raised the breathalyzer
reading to .065 percen
Researchers told CBS that although younger drivers didn’t exhibit
the same level of impairment as older drivers, the study used a driving
simulator that was less complex than driving environments most people
- Unusual road conditions
- Traffic patterns
- Unpredictable drivers
These factors could easily heighten driving dangers among the groups involved
in the study, according to researchers.
The study clearly suggests that impairment can begin after a single drink.
accident attorneys know that small amounts of alcohol can impair any driver’s ability
to safely share the road with others. Despite legal blood alcohol limits
designed to prevent drunk driving accidents, there’s simply no safe
blood alcohol content for drivers that’s higher than zero.