National Transportation Safety Board Study Recommends Lower Drunk-Driving Threshold

By: James Davis

Most people know that the law makes it a crime to drive with a BAC over .08.  But do you know how many drinks that is?  The truth is that no one knows for sure, because it all depends on what you are drinking, how long it took you to drink it, your gender, body size, and many other factors.

Most people try to use a common sense approach, but the lines between sober, tipsy, and downright wasted are sometimes hard to distinguish.

Making things even more complicated, there is now a new push to make DUI laws even more stringent–lowering the BAC maximum to .05.  If these proposals become law, it may be even harder for Floridians to know if they are at risk of a DUI when getting behind the wheel.  For some people, even a single drink may push them over the limit.

The Proposal
Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) published a safety report (“Report”) entitled “Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol Impaired Driving”, to address the necessity of providing certain elements to “achieve meaningful reductions in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.”

According to the Report, reducing the number of drunk-driving accidents can be achieved through “stronger laws, improved enforcement strategies, innovative adjudication programs, and accelerated development of new in-vehicle alcohol detection technologies.”

Of course, everyone is on board with lowering the risk of drunk driving accidents, but are there limits to what legal changes should be made in order to meet that goal?

One specific, and controversial, recommendation made by the Report is for each state to reduce the per se blood alcohol concentration limit for all drivers.  The Report urges states to adopt a BAC limit of 0.05, as compared to the 0.08 currently in use in all fifty states.  The Report also recommended that states expand laws allowing for the suspension of licenses for drivers who exceed BAC limits and a requirement that all first-time drunk driving offenders have ignition locking devices installed in their vehicles.

In other words, this NTSB report author wants to make it even easier for police officers to give someone a DUI and make the penalties for first-time offenders even harsher than they are now.  However, there must be a limit to what is reasonable to lower drunk driving injuries. Confiscating the keys of everyone who enters a bar or orders a drink at a restaurant might similarly lower drunk driving rates–but that doesn’t mean it makes sense to do it.

If these proposals become law, it’s clear that even more residents will be caught up in DUI charges without realizing it.  The continued push to make more conduct illegal and amp up penalties makes it critical for the rights of defendants to be vigorously protected.

Criminal defense attorneyJames Davis has extensive experience defending those individuals that have been accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.   For over a decade, Attorney James Davis has successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with DUI’s in Florida.  If you or someone you know has been charged with drunk driving in Florida, contact Attorney James Davis today.

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