In the 1980s, approximately 20,000 people died every year because of drunk driving accidents. DUI reform laws then imposed a .15 BAC limit for all drivers. In the years following this, grassroots organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) pushed for greater reform. The DUI laws were eventually changed so that anyone with a BAC of .08 percent or higher could be arrested for drunk driving. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is suggesting that the national BAC be lowered to .05 percent.
This recommendation is part of the NTSB's "Reaching Zero" initiative, an attempt to completely eradicate drunk driving in the United States. There are still about 10,000 people killed every year by drunk driving, and the NTSB suggests that this new cap on BAC could eliminate up to 800 deaths annually. While the NTSB cannot make laws or even change them, they often make recommendations that are headed by legislators.
Just how many drinks does it take to reach a .08 percent BAC? While factors such as height and weight can cause the answer to vary, typically, it would take four drinks in one hour for a 180-pound male to reach legal intoxication at its current limit- .08 percent. Under the proposed DUI law changes, that same man would only have to drink two or three drinks within an hour to reach legal intoxication.
Lowering the BAC is not the only change that the NTSB is suggesting. It also recommends that state laws allow for police to more readily confiscate driver's licenses from DUI offenders. Another recommendation would be implementing ignition interlock device (IID) installation for first time offenders, not only serious DUI offenders and repeat offenders. One safety official said that while there has been some improvement in this area, there needs to be more intensity in combatting DUI.
Most people do not expect a quick change, but rather a slow and steady fight for lowered BAC standards. In other countries, the legal intoxication limit is lower than .08 percent BAC. While alcohol affects every driver differently, many drivers experience impaired driving with as little as .01 and .02 percent BAC by way of attention problems and drowsiness. BAC limits have already been lowered for drivers under the legal drinking age and for commercial truck drivers.
Knowles Law Firm, PLC is a proponent of lowering the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities. Our firm also understands that implementation of this new, lowered BAC standard could result in a heavy increase in DUI arrests. Our Phoenix DUI attorneys are prepared to fight for those who have been wrongfully accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. To learn more about how our firm could provide you the defense you need, call today and schedule a free consultation.