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Per Se DUI Limits To Go Up?

Last month the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent out a press release outlining a number of suggestions aimed at curbing the risks posed by drunk driving. Amongst those suggestions was a proposed lowering of the national per se legal Blood Alcohol Limit (BAC) from .08 to .05. A per se BAC limit is the limit in which a person is considered legally impaired.

According to the NTSB, "Each year in the United States, nearly 10,000 people are killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers and more than 173,000 are injured, with 27,000 suffer incapacitating injuries. Since the mid-1990s, even as total highway fatalities have fallen, the proportion of deaths from accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver has remained constant at around 30 percent. In the last 30 years, nearly 440,000 people have died in alcohol related crashes." The NTSB also went on to say that they believe that is all 50 states adopted a lowered BAC, approximately 1,000 lives a year would be saved.

A reduction of the per se limit to .05 would, practically speaking, lower the number of drinks someone could consume over three hours by one to two drinks. A 180 pound man could consumer four drinks over a three hour period and still fall short of the .05 limit. A 140 pound woman could consume three drinks without going over a .05 limit.

It is definitely clear the sort of potential harms that driving under the influence can cause. Measures lowering per se BAC's have been shown to decrease the amount of harm caused by drunk driving. However, these sorts of changes generally take a good amount of time to actually be effectuated. The last time the national limit was lowered from .10 to .08, it took nearly a decade. Long story made short, when it comes to drinking and driving, it's a whole lot easier to just call a cab.

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Thomas Law Firm
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