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Linden Police Officer Had BAC of .24%–How Drunk Is That?

What Does a .24% Blood Alcohol Content Mean?

Accident sceneWhen Linden, New Jersey, police officer Pedro Abad collided head-on with an 18-wheeler in March, killing two passengers in his car, his blood alcohol level was .24%, according to authorities, approximately three times the legal limit. Does that mean that he was three times as drunk as someone who blows a .08? Not necessarily, say experts, but it seems indisputable that he would have been substantially impaired.

Most authorities consider the .08 legal limit not to be an accurate indicator of a person’s ability to function. Instead, they view it as simply a yardstick. A person’s ability to function can vary, depending on whether they have built up a tolerance to alcohol, as well as other factors. Most states, including New Jersey, set a higher benchmark, usually .15%, for what they consider substantial impairment, and mete out more serious penalties to persons convicted of driving with those levels of alcohol in their blood.

A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration supports the assertion that higher blood alcohol content is directly tied to greater risk of traffic fatalities. Data shows that nearly 70% of traffic fatalities involving a drunk driver were instances where the driver had a BAC at or in excess of .15%. The Center for Disease Control also establishes .15% as a benchmark, saying that persons with that level of alcohol in their blood have “far less muscle control than normal…major loss of balance…and substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing.”

Contact Attorney Howard D. Popper

To learn your options when you have suffered a personal injury, contact our office online or call attorney Popper at 973-993-8787. We have offices in Morristown and Newton, but will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no charge for your first consultation.

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