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Impaired Driving

Every year in Massachusetts about 150 people die in motor vehicle crashes involving a driver who has been drinking alcohol.

Every year in Massachusetts about 150 people die in motor vehicle crashes involving a driver who has been drinking alcohol and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 or higher. Four out of 5 (83%) of these fatalities involved drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

Massachusetts Impaired Driving Laws

In Massachusetts it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with .08 (or over) Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).  The law also states that driving while under the influence of marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances is prohibited.

Prevention/Best Practices

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following evidence-based interventions:

  • Sobriety checkpoints allow police to briefly stop vehicles at specific, highly visible locations to see if the driver is impaired. Police may stop all or a certain portion of drivers.
  • Breath tests may be given if police have a reason to suspect the driver is intoxicated
  • Ignition interlocks installed in cars measure alcohol on the driver’s breath. Interlocks keep the car from starting if the driver has a BAC above a certain level, usually 0.02%. In Massachusetts they are used for people convicted of drunk driving for a second time and are highly effective at preventing repeat offenses while installed.

Additional Resources for Prevention/Best Practices

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