A recent study found that, when it comes to the blood alcohol content (BAC) of drivers in the state, Colorado drivers are topping the list for having some of the highest levels in the country. The study took data from roads in the U.S. with at least 20 fatal accidents between 2004 and 2013. Colorado’s U.S. 6 is ranked fifth among the roads surveyed, and drivers on that road were found to have the highest blood alcohol levels, coming in at .224. This is a significant jump from the average BAC of all the roads included in the study, which was .19.
Although Colorado was not the highest ranked state, with Arizona coming in first with an average BAC level of .229 on McDowell Road, and North Carolina coming in second, with drivers averaging a BAC of .227 on US 74, these numbers are still alarming. According to the study, “a person with a BAC higher than .20 will need assistance walking, [will] experience total mental confusion, and may possibly blackout.” These drivers are not just walking or sitting, they’re driving and causing dozens of fatal accidents due to their state of extreme intoxication.
How Much is Too Much?
When you attend drunk driving classes or learn about driving safety, course instructors will typically give you an average number of drinks that will keep you in the “safe zone” for driving — a glass of wine, a beer, one mixed drink, etc., — which all depends on the sex and average height and weight of a given driver. Based on that, many drivers may assume that it takes a significant number of drinks to build a blood alcohol level of .224. This is not entirely true and the study highlights the levels of intoxication that can be reached in a short amount of time with only a few drinks.
The average glass of wine is about 5 ounces, and is 12 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). A standard beer is 12 ounces at 5 percent ABV and a shot of liquor is 1.5 ounces at 40 percent ABV. But in your average bar, these standards don’t always apply. You may find yourself receiving generous pours of your drink of choice, which will significantly skew your “one drink and I’m fine” rationale. If you have a few beers and a shot while you’re out, your BAC may soar to over .20 in only an hour or two.
The study also found that rural roads are more likely to have drunk driving accidents and fatalities. This can be impacted by a variety of factors. For instance, rural highways often have higher speed limits, less lighting and more variable roadways and surfaces. Drivers who have had a few drinks may have a harder time trying to navigate the curves and changes of a rural road, all while traveling at high speeds, typically late at night.
Colorado drivers should be aware of the state’s ranking and make an effort to promote safe driving practices on all roads. For more information regarding car accidents and personal injury claims, or if you have been injured in an accident, contact a Denver auto accident lawyer at Levine Law today.