A woman weighing less than 120 pounds can reach 0.05 percent after just one drink, studies show. A man weighing up to 160 pounds reaches 0.05 after two drinks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, at a BAC of 0.05 percent, drivers will have reduced coordination, reduced ability to track movement and reduced response to emergency driving situations. At 0.08 percent, drivers lose the ability to concentrate, speed control, experience reduced information processing and impaired perception.
New approaches are needed to combat drunken driving, which claims the lives of more than a third of the 30,000 people killed each year on U.S. highways — a level of carnage that that has remained stubbornly consistent for the past decade and a half, the board said.
However, NTSB statistics also indicate that in about 70 percent of all alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, at least one driver had a BAC of 0.15 or higher, with the most frequently recorded BAC being 0.18.
About 6 percent of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities involve drivers with a BAC of 0.01 to 0.07 percent, according to the NTSB statistics.
In Pennsylvania in 2010, 69 of the state’s 1,324 fatal crashes invovled drivers with a BAC of 0.01 to 0.07 percent, according to the NTSB, in contrast to the number of drivers with a .15 BAC or higher involved in fatal crashes, which was 332, or 25 percent of all fatal crashes and 77 percent of all alcohol-related fatal crashes.
“I think the problem drinker is the problem drinker,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s not the couple out on a weekend for dinner.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report