Alcohol can increase the seriousness of injuries among car crash victims, according to a new study.
A study of more than 1,300 car accidents by researchers from the University of Michigan in the USA showed that the injuries sustained by crash victims who had been drinking alcohol were likely to be 30 per worse than injuries to non-drinkers.
Dr Ronald Maio, director of the Injury Research Center at the university, said: "Acute and chronic alcohol abuse have a number of adverse effects on the body that could conceivably increase the severity of an injury." For example, alcohol can reduce blood clotting and increase the effects of shock.
Dr Maio said that the research suggested that car passengers who had been drinking were still putting themselves at risk of increased injury, even if they followed advice to use a designated driver. Pressure group Alcohol Concern said the findings supported its long-running campaign for further reductions in the legal drink-drive limit. A spokesman said: "Alcohol is still a factor in hundreds of deaths on the roads. It's important we are not complacent about safety gains that have been made in recent years, and keep pressing for more improvements."