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Is there such a thing as safe buzzed driving?

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As the holiday season approaches, many residents in California and elsewhere are making plans to attend work parties, go downtown with their friends or celebrate with family at their homes. You are probably aware of making responsible decisions with alcohol. If you had too much to drink at a get-together, you might have a designated driver or are prepared to call for a ride. However, what if you only had one or two drinks and only feel a little tipsy?

This is known as buzzed driving, which is technically driving with a blood alcohol content under the legal limit of .08 percent. Many people get behind the wheel with a low BAC, feeling a buzz but thinking they are all right to drive. However, according to RedOrbit, driving with any amount of alcohol in your bloodstream can be enough to impair your driving and affect your judgment and reaction time. In a study conducted by the University of California, San Diego, researchers concluded that drivers with only a .01 percent BAC have a 46 percent higher chance of causing fatal accidents than those with no alcohol in their systems.

The problem is so concerning that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has an ongoing ad campaign, “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” to raise awareness of the issue. If you are pulled over and blow a breath test, you might not qualify as legally drunk, but an officer could make a judgment that you are too intoxicated to safely drive and you might face a drunk driving charge anyway. Bottom line this holiday season? If you partake of alcohol and need a vehicle to get home, ride with someone sober.

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