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Proposal to Lower DUI Threshold from .08 to .05

The federal government is already tough on drunk driving but some are now saying it is not enough. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has pointed out that alcohol-related crash fatalities in the United States are still too high and the issue needs to be readdressed. Drunk driving crashes result in approximately 10,000 deaths every year and the government is partially at fault for not placing tighter restrictions. Due to this fact, the NTSB has proposed that the blood alcohol content threshold be lowered from .08 to .05. This lower DUI standard has already been adopted by 100 other countries around the world- Europe in particular saw their alcohol-related fatalities dwindle down by 50% over the last ten years as a result.

When the U.S. first lowered the BAC threshold from .15 down to .08 the government was faced with heavy opposition. This makes a BAC threshold of .05 seem like a near impossible feat. The NTSB however, is estimating that by lowering the rate, we may be able to save around 500-800 lived every year. To put the new proposed BAC threshold in perspective we must compare it with our current laws. With a .08 threshold, a 180 pound man can consume about four drinks in an hour before being considered intoxicated. Under a .05 threshold however, that same man would only be permitted to have two or three drinks over an hour long period. The NTSB if for these changes because they believe that signs of intoxication start forming before drinkers even reach the .08 BAC level. Their research shows that many drivers showed a decline in cognitive brain activity, vision and reactive reflexes with a BAC of only .05.

Since states can set their own BAC standards, this new proposed BAC limit is merely a recommendation- the safety board is not allowed to impose legislation, they are only allowed to suggest changes when it comes to federal and state governments. So the question remains, will any states decide to adopt this new proposal as the new DUI law? The new DUI standard was not the only recommendation that was made by the safety board. They also suggested that moving forward, all first time DUI offenders should be required to install an ignition locking device in the their vehicle. These types of devices require the driver to be subject to breath sampling and it prohibits the engine from starting if alcohol is detected in the driver's breath. The safety board has recommended that all 50 states follow suit and join in the other 100 countries that have lower BAC limits. They have also suggested that the NHTSA provide some sort of financial incentives in order for state governments to adopt the proposed changes.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Florida, or you have questions about the new BAC proposal, speak to a Fort Myers DUI attorney from our firm today.