Should The Legal BAC Limit Be Lowered To .05?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Oct 14, 2016 | 0 Comments

In February of this year, CNN reported that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) again recommended that the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level for drivers be lowered. The current BAC limit is .08. The NTSB has proposed reducing this to .05 or lower. The Board made this recommendation in order to "deter more people from driving while intoxicated." The NTSB has made this recommendation for the past several years and so far it has not gotten much traction. In fact, "there hasn't been a single committee hearing on the topic," according to Frank Harris, who works for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as the state governmental affairs director.

MADD, which was founded to combat drunk driving, has not come out in support of lowering the BAC limit to .05. Instead, the organization has been focusing on increasing the number of states that require ignition interlock devices to be installed in the cars of everyone who is convicted of a DUI. Currently, over half of the states and Washington, D.C. do require ignition interlocks for all offenders. However, some states only require a driver to install an ignition interlock if the person convicted of a DUI had a BAC of 0.15 or higher, or if they have multiple DUI convictions.

There is support for the proposed measure among drivers according to a 2014 survey conduct by AAA. 63% of drivers reported that they would support reducing the legal BAC to .05. In addition, other countries such as Russia and Ireland have lower BAC limits than the United States. And according to the vice chairwoman of the NTSB "[i]n many such places now with a 0.05 limit, people drink more per capita but are less likely to die in drunken driving crashes."

The legal drinking limit in the United States has been .08 for less than twenty years. In October of 2000, both houses of Congress passed the Department of Transportation's 2001 Appropriations Act ("Act"). It was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The Act required all states to pass legislation lowering the legal BAC to .08 per se by 2004. If a state did not comply with the Act, then that state would risk losing its federal highway construction funds. The state would lose two percent of funds for each year it failed to comply and a total of eight percent could be lost starting in 2007. However, if a state adopted the measure by 2007, it would get all of its lost funds back. All 50 states later complied with this requirement and according to the IIHS "[a]ll 50 states and the District of Columbia have per se laws making it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above a specified level, currently 0.08 percent (0.08 g alcohol per 100 ml blood)."

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Georgia, you want a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side. Contact Cherokee County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson today at (404) 816-4440.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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