Federal Safety Agency Recommends Lower Blood Alcohol Limits
Zephyrhills, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 18, 2013 - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that states lower the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC).
The NTSB does not directly set these limits; they are determined by state legislation. Currently, all 50 U.S. states have a BAC limit of 0.08 percent for all drivers 21 or older. Some states hold younger drivers to stricter standards. The agency has called on states to lower the limit for all drivers to 0.05 percent.
“Some 10,000 deaths per year on American roads involve alcohol impairment,” said Zephyrhills auto accident attorney Robert Alston. “Every one of these deaths is preventable. State and federal governments need to work together to reduce the incidence of alcohol-impaired driving through legislation, enforcement, and awareness.”
The NTSB recently launched a campaign called “Reaching Zero” to reduce alcohol-impaired driving and related accidents and raise public awareness of the issue. The agency's proposal came on the 25th anniversary of the worst drunk driving accident in U.S. history. In Carrollton, Kentucky, 24 children and three adults died and another 34 people were injured when a drunk driver crashed into a school bus transporting a church group.
The last time the NTSB issued a similar recommendation was in 1982, when it asked states to lower the BAC from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent. Utah was the first state to fall in line the next year, but it took until 2004 for all states to do so. The board noted that most of the developed world has already adopted a limit of 0.05 percent, and said the U.S. is “behind the world.”
The board's other proposals include: stiffer penalties for first-time and repeat offenders; mandating breath analysis devices for convicted drunk drivers which prevent them from starting the car if they have been drinking; using special courts to handle drunk driving charges; and implementation of technology such as “sniffing flashlights,” which police officers can use to detect the smell of alcohol.
The Governors Highway Safety Association reacted to the announcement by saying it supports current BAC limits, but it would consider the NTSB's recommendations.
The American Beverage Institute, a restaurant industry trade group, called the board's proposals “ludicrous” and characterized them as an attempt to “expand the definition of 'drunk.'”
Although the NTSB cannot set BAC limits, Congress has the authority to set requirements to which states must adhere in order to secure highway funding.
Robert Alston is a partner in the firm of Alston & Baker, P. A. To contact a Zephyrhills Social Security lawyer, Zephyrhills accident attorney, or Zephyrhills divorce lawyer, visit http://www.alstonbakerlaw.com.
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