LA JOLLA (CNS) - Traffic accidents are 36 percent more likely to involve deaths or severe injuries when even a small amount of alcohol is present in a driver's system, according to a UC San Diego study released Monday.
Researchers David Phillips and Kimberly Brewer looked at nearly 1.5 million fatal traffic accidents in the United States between 1994 and 2008 to arrive at the figure.
The legal limit for blood-alcohol content in California is 0.08 percent. However, in collisions in which a driver has just a 0.01 BAC, the ratio of people who suffer serious injuries to those who suffered less serious wounds was 4.33 to one, the researchers found. For sober drivers, the ratio was 3.17 to one.
"Compared with sober drivers, buzzed drivers are more likely to speed, more likely to be improperly seat-belted and more likely to drive the striking vehicle, all of which are associated with greater severity," Phillips said.
The severity of injuries increased with the blood-alcohol level, according to the authors, who said the findings held true even when factors such as fatigue and time of day were accounted for.
Phillips said he hope the results will convince legislators to lower the allowable blood-alcohol limit.
"Doing so is very likely to reduce incapacitating injuries and to save lives," Phillips said.
The research was published in the journal Addiction.
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Stretches of state Route 163 will be closed beginning Monday night and continuing through Friday morning for maintenance work and to reduce the height of the overpass at Friars Road, Caltrans announced.
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The 22-year-old man who was shot by sheriff's deputies near the ticket window of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was arraigned at his hospital bed at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla on Monday.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa said Monday that he plans to blast off on the first-ever commercial trip around the moon and will invite six to eight artists, architects, designers and other creative people on the weeklong journey.
A U.S. citizen was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego Monday on charges of stealing nearly $100,000 in Social Security disability benefits by concealing his overseas residency for almost a decade.
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