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Laws To Lower Alcohol Limits Mean Lower Fatalities Says Loyola Trauma Chief

Released: 22-May-2013 3:30 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Loyola University Health System
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Newswise — The National Transportation Safety Board NTSB) is proposing that the legal limit for a driver’s blood-alcohol content be reduced from 0.08 to 0.05, but and that may not be far enough says Thomas Esposito, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns in the Department of Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center.

“The rationalization by critics that it penalizes the person who only occasionally has “one too many” or who only drinks “socially” makes no sense,” Esposito says. “One too many is just that; it’s about impairment, not the number of drinks.”

In 2011, 9,858 people were killed, 350,000 injured and $132 billion spent as a result of drunk driving.

The odds of crashing increase exponentially when blood alcohol content is above 0.05, as many studies document, says Esposito, who heads Loyola’s Level 1 Trauma Center located just outside Chicago. “Some states even have zero alcohol tolerance for teen drivers which seems to be effective in reducing injury.”

Loyola is the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Illinois certified by the American College of Surgeons.

A Level 1 Trauma Center is equipped to provide comprehensive emergency medical services to patients suffering traumatic injuries -- car and motorcycle crashes, stabbings, athletic injuries, falls -- using multidisciplinary treatment and specialized resources, Esposito says.

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