If someone crashes into your car and injures you, the police should test them for alcohol in their system. If they are over the permitted blood alcohol concentration (BAC), it should be easier to claim that the crash was their fault. What they were doing was illegal.
However, in many cases, driver's come in under the 0.08 BAC limit despite drinking alcohol. Does this make them any less responsible for the crash? Does this make it more likely the insurer will try and hold you responsible?
What does buzzed driving mean?
Buzzed driving is a term coined by road safety campaigners to highlight that any alcohol amount affects the ability to drive. The term drunk can be misleading. It suggests that it is OK to drink and drive up to a specific point. However, this is not the case.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights how different blood alcohol contents affect someone's capacity to drive:
- 08 BAC: is the usual legal limit. When people are working out how much they can "safely" drink before driving, this is what they are trying to come in under. This level of alcohol affects several areas. It harms concentration, hazard perception and processing of information.
- 05 BAC: is enough to decrease someone's ability to react in an emergency. It affects steering and co-ordination.
- 02 BAC: will affect vision and ability to multi-task. So talking to a passenger while driving may be too much.
Do not let another driver try to tell you they were safe to drive because they came in under the limit. If they had refrained from drinking alcohol before driving, the crash might not have happened. You would not have needed to claim compensation for injuries.