Authorities Seeking to Lower the Legal Limit for BAC

A decade after the present limit of .08 percent was implemented by President Clinton and Congress, the National Transportation Safety Board is making recommendations of a lower limit for blood alcohol content. The discussions began again the middle of May, when the board suggested the legal limit of .08 percent be slashed by more than one-third to .05 percent. There have been heated discussions from both proponents and opponents of this recommendation since and many are beginning to doubt the likelihood that the board will succeed.

For some time now, private organizations and state authorities have been exploring solutions to combat the issue of impaired driving. Impaired driving is separate from the criminal charge of DUI in that it implies alcohol in the blood stream but not to the legal limit of .08 percent. The problem, claims the board, is that a BAC level slightly under the current legal limit can and does still reduce a driver’s ability to see, react and operate a vehicle to the extent of a sober individual.

Under the current limit, an average male weighing over 180 pounds can easily consumer four beers within the span of 90 minutes and maintain a BAC under .08 percent. With a limit lowered to .05 percent, that same man would only be able to consume three during the same timeframe. The board also pointed out that individuals with a BAC of .05 percent are still 38 percent more likely to be involved in an accident and that the standard in most of the world is .05 percent.

Opponents of the change criticize the recommendation for essentially punishing “perfectly responsible behavior.” The director of the American Beverage Institute pointed out that this change would do nothing to combat the high BAC levels that place the public in real danger. A lower BAC level, she claims, would only affect individuals who already take measures to ensure they are acting within the law.

Other solutions to the concern over drunken driving include built-in alcohol detectors, also known as ignition interlock devices that keep the vehicle from starting until the driver provides an acceptable BAC level. This would be done either by providing a breath sample by breathing into the device or by installing the detectors into the steering wheel that could measure BAC. Concern about these solutions involves individual privacy rights and how they compare to the public safety.

Although efforts to implement changes in the standards for impaired driving continue, many in the legal field seem to doubt the likelihood that it will come about. Regardless of what happens, you need to make sure that your rights are protected in the event that you are arrested for DUI or impaired driving. Contact a Columbia DUI lawyer from The Laubshire Law Firm, LLC today to learn how we can help you fight your DUI charge.