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When are fatal drunk driving crashes most likely to occur?

It may seem like a given that there are more fatal drunk driving crashes late at night than at any other time of day. After a long night of drinking that may have begun with dinner and ended at a bar, people get into their cars not remembering exactly how many drinks they've had or believing that they're more than capable of making it safely home.

However, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), spikes in fatal alcohol-related crashes occurred at several times throughout the day. Not surprisingly, the greatest number were in the 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. hour — perhaps involving people who stayed at the bar until closing time.

Two spikes occurred earlier in the day, however. One was at approximately 3 p.m. This suggests that the "three-martini lunch" may not have disappeared with the Mad Men era.

Another spike in fatal crashes occurred around 7 p.m. Researchers noted that this coincides with the end of happy hour in restaurants and bars where one can buy a fair share of drinks at inexpensive prices.

Another troubling finding was the amount of alcohol drivers in these fatal crashes consumed before their collisions. Researchers found each state's highest and lowest blood alcohol content (BAC) level among those in fatal drunk driving crashes. The lowest BAC recorded was .26 percent. That amount of alcohol in a person's system can result in blackouts and alcohol poisoning. It comes after at least 14 drinks for many people.

Of course, Maryland law enforcement agencies also know when drunk drivers are most likely to be on the road and deploy their resources accordingly. Even if you haven't gotten to a level of intoxication that puts you in immediate physical danger, you may well be over the legal limit after a few hours of drinking, even if you're "pacing" yourself and consuming only a couple of drinks an hour.

That's why it's best to call an Uber or Lyft rather than risk driving home or anywhere else. If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), the impact on your life and career can be serious. That's why you should never face a Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearing or go into court without experienced legal guidance.

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