For many in the Billings area, having a drink or two at happy hour, while out for dinner or at a party, is no big deal. However, drinking and then driving yourself home is a very big deal — especially when it leads to a drunk driving accident that injures or kills another person. It is overly simplistic to assume that, even if you’ve been drinking, if your blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit of 0.08%, you are safe to drive. In fact, even those with a BAC below the legal limit can still be too impaired by alcohol to drive safely.

If a person has a BAC of 0.05% after consuming around three standard-sized alcoholic drinks, they may find that their coordination and ability to track moving objects is reduced. They may find it more difficult to manipulate the steering wheel. In addition, their ability to respond to an emergency situation while on the road may be reduced. While they may not be drunk per conventional standards, a BAC of 0.05% can impair a driver’s ability to safely handle their vehicle, and they could cause a car crash as a result.

Even a BAC of 0.02% can be too much. After consuming around two standard-sized alcoholic drinks, a person could see a decline in their ability to rapidly track a moving target. They may also find it more difficult to divide their attention between two simultaneous tasks. Again, while they may not be drunk per conventional standards, even a BAC as low as 0.02% can impair a person’s ability to safely drive, leading to a motor vehicle accident.

What do these numbers show us? They show us that there is really no safe limit of alcohol consumption when it comes to drunk driving. Even if a person’s BAC is below the legal limit, they could still be too impaired to safely drive. If a person has been drinking, and then causes a car accident that causes another person to suffer injuries, the injured party may want to determine if they can bring a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for the crash.