Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all 50 US States lower the legal limit of alcohol in the blood to .05 from .08. The NTSB says that in the last 30 years over 440,000 people have died from alcohol related traffic accidents; drunk driving accounts for more than 1/3rd of all road deaths in the US. If the limit were lowered to .05 about 500 to 800 lives would be saved every year.
Right now, if a 180 pound male imbibed in 4 drinks over the span of an hour his BAC would reach .08%. A .05 BAC would be reached within an hour and two to three drinks. Ones BAC is determined by body weight and mass. Most drivers start feeling the effects of alcohol when their blood reaches .05%. The American Beverage Institute, however, says that the average woman holds a .05 BAC after just one drink. The ABI plans on examining the NTSB’s recommendation to lower the limit.
In the 1980s the BAC was as high as .15%. Due to groups pushing for the lowering of the limit, groups like MADD, many states lowered it from .15 to .08%, with the last state following suit in 2004. The number of traffic related deaths due to alcohol dropped from 20,000 in 1980 to 9,878 in 2011. Still, 31% of highway fatalities are alcohol related. More than 100 countries have a BAC limit of .05 or lower; the NTSB would like the US to have the same limit.
There is also push to confiscate an intoxicated driver’s license immediately upon arrest or if they refuse to take BAC tests. The NTSB would also like police to use passive alcohol sensors which can smell alcohol on a driver’s breath even if that driver is chewing gum or eating mints. Last, they would like to see ignition interlock devices for every DUI offender and that states should improve compliance with the interlock.
A DWI in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor. If you or a loved one are being accused of Driving While Intoxicated, call The Gordon Law Firm today for your free consultation at 703-218-8416 or toll free at 866-591NOVA (6682).