Researchers at the University of California, San Diego published a new study arguing that drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) well below the legal limit were more likely to be in severe car accidents than sober drivers. In response, ABI issued a press release criticizing the study's findings, pointing out that the researchers only looked at fatal accidents. Those accidents tend to be much more severe than non-fatal accidents and represented only .3% of all auto accidents in 2008.
ABI also found that while the study claims that there is a jump in the severity of driver injuries between a BAC of 0.0 and a BAC of .01, the higer BAC levels - as high as .07 - corresponded to lower rates of severe injuries than .01. ABI's findings were covered by NBC Springfield, Mass., CBS Salisbury, Md., and the San Diego Union-Tribune.
ABI Criticizes ROADS SAFE Act
This month, Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Heath Shuler (D-NC) introduced legislation in the U.S. House appropriating $60 million over a five-year period to further develop alcohol detection devices that will eventually be installed in all cars. Rob Strassburger, vice president for safety of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said during a press conference this month that he could envision the technology turning up in as soon as five years. ABI responded by quickly issuing a press release urging Congress to reject the legislation. The bill is a companion to legislation introduced in March by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Bob Corker (R-TN).