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July 4, 1986

Alcohol and the Driver

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

JAMA. 1986;256(1):37. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380010041012

To the Editor.—  I read with interest the COUNCIL REPORT, "Alcohol and the Driver,"1 which advocated the lowering of the per se legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from 0.1% to 0.05%. I was struck by the apparent discrepancy between the recommendation of the Council and the evidence presented, which indicates that there would be little or no benefit to lowering the minimum legal BAC.The authors repeatedly cite studies demonstrating a high incidence of BACs greater than 0.05% among crash victims nationwide, yet they do not break down these statistics into groups, so one cannot determine the number of accidents caused by drivers with BACs less than the current (typical) per se limit of 0.1%. More importantly, the relevant statistic for policymakers is the probability of causing an accident (per man-hour behind the wheel) for an individual with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.1% compared with controls with a BAC