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November 9, 1940

THE EFFECT OF ALCOHOL ON DRIVING SKILL

Author Affiliations

SAN FRANCISCO

From the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, and the Division of Drivers' Licenses, State of California.

JAMA. 1940;115(19):1600-1602. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810450014004
Abstract

One important step toward the solution of the problem of drunken driving lies in the accurate diagnosis of drunkenness. That a definite correlation between blood alcohol concentration and intoxication exists in any large series of cases has been repeatedly shown, and on the basis of data so obtained rigid limits of blood alcohol concentration above which legal intoxication is assumed to exist have been fixed by several states. These all agree more or less with the figure pronounced by the National Safety Council of 150 mg. per hundred cubic centimeters of blood.

The experimental data on which this pronouncement has been made leave something to be desired from the standpoint of control and objectivity. As a matter of fact the point most frequently lost sight of is that, while the correlation may be excellent from the statistical standpoint, in order that a man may be convicted of drunken driving because

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