The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recently recommended that all states lower the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level for drivers to 0.05. According to the NTSB, the number of alcohol-related highway fatalities, has dropped from 20,000 in 1980 to 9,878 in 2011. They assert that this was as a result of lowering the BAC level to 0.08. The NTSB has just cited to new research they say shows most drivers experience a decline in both cognitive and visual functions with a BAC of 0.05. NTSB states that the “research clearly shows that drivers with a BAC above 0.05 are impaired and at a significantly greater risk of being involved in a crash where someone is killed or injured.” See the May 14, 2013 NTSB press release here.
This NTSB report has polarized the country. As a DUI lawyer and a personal injury lawyer, I understand how this will affect various areas of U.S. law. I am always for stricter DUI laws on the highways. I handle major trucking and auto related collisions and many collisions happen when people go behind the wheel when they think they “have had just a few drinks.” Many people cannot regulate themselves and they need these laws so there are penalties for their behavior. The law appears to be headed toward a certain future where NO alcohol will be allowed in someone’s system at all when they go behind the wheel. I do not think that a 0.0 BAC level is necessary but you cannot argue that it certainly would make people safer on the roads and cut down on the serious injuries I see every day in my practice. One thing is certain-this law will definitely cut down on more accidents.