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Lower Alcohol Limit and Nation will see Lower Fatalities, Loyola Trauma Chief Says

'One Too Many' is Just That, One Too Many, Esposito Opines

MAYWOOD, Ill. - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing that the legal limit for a driver’s blood-alcohol content be reduced from 0.08 to 0.05 but that may not be far enough, said 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 said. “One too many is just that; it’s about impairment, not the number of drinks."

The odds of crashing increase exponentially when blood-alcohol content is above 0.05, as many studies document, said 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 said.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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