The NTSB says that U.S. is behind the times in terms of its BAC limit. The agency claims that more than 100 other countries, including almost all of Western Europe have now moved to a 0.05 BAC limit. The agency says that Europe has seen a 50 percent decrease in the instances of drunk driving fatalities since implementing the new, lower limit. The NTSB says that if states lower the limit to 0.05 then an estimated 500 to 800 lives could be saved each year.
Such abstract percentages have very little meaning to ordinary people so let’s take a moment to put the change in practical terms. Under current laws, a 180-pound man could safely consume four drinks in an hour before hitting the legal limit of 0.08. Under the new rules, that same man could only have between two and three drinks in an hour and still be safe to drive. The amount of alcohol drops even more for women. According to experts, a 120-pound woman could only consume one drink before hitting the 0.05 limit.
Opponents of the measure point out that not only will the change result in a huge lifestyle shift for many people, but there is also the question of whether it will work. After all, the last time the U.S. tried to lower BAC limits (from 0.10 to 0.08) the process took nearly twenty years. Beyond the time it took to get every state on board, the results have been questionable. Currently about a third of all road deaths are related to alcohol consumption, about the same level that has been seen for decades.
Another important point that critics of the proposal bring up is that the danger of drinking and driving is not seen in those drivers with such low levels of BAC. Time and time again studies have shown that the most dangerous BAC levels are many multiples higher than that. For instance, one study cited by the National Restaurant Association found that the average BAC level of a drunk driver involved in a fatal accident was 0.16 percent, more than twice the current legal limit. Additionally, 70 percent of all drunk driving deaths involve a driver with a BAC of 0.15 or higher.
Wasting time, energy, police manpower and the expenses of incarceration to roundup a bunch of drivers that pose very little threat to others is a questionable proposal and rightly deserves a tremendous amount of scrutiny.
If you’ve been involved in something that requires the skill of an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer, contact us today.
Source: “Critics Attack Plan To Lower Blood Alcohol Limits: How Can We End Drunk Driving?,” by Richard Read, published at TheCarConnection.com.