NTSB Recommends Lower BAC Threshold for DUI

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends that American states lower the legal BAC tolerance for drunk driving. According to NBC News, the NTSB voted to decrease the legal limit from .08% to .05%. Whether or not states will implement the recommendation remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: roughly four million people admit to driving under the influence every year and 10,000 people are killed in DUI-related accidents annually in the United States.

Advocates of the lower threshold say that the new limit would lessen the number of fatal and injury-related accidents. However, the managing director of the American Beverage Institute described the recommendation as ludicrous and said that "Moving from .08% to .05% would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior…Restricting the moderate consumption of alcohol by responsible adults prior to driving does nothing to stop hardcore drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel."

The United States is not the first country to recommend (or apply) a .05% DUI limit. Most European countries, Australia, and the majority of South America set the legal driving limit at .05%. Provinces in Australia experienced between 5% and 18% fewer traffic fatalities when they instigated the .05% rule. The NTSB claims that some drivers' visual functions, such as depth perception, are impaired at the .05% mark. By the time most people reach a .07%, their cognitive abilities are compromised too.

The NTSB claims that, if every state in the country enacted the .05% limit, almost 1,000 traffic fatalities could be avoided every year. However, a lower threshold could lead to unnecessary DUI arrests as well. Alcohol impairment is difficult to determine; everyone feel the effects of alcohol in different ways. As is the, .08% BAC limit may be responsible for wrongful DUI arrests and convictions. If you were arrested for drunk driving in Ventura, CA, contact Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP for the topnotch legal defense that you need.

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