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Federal Government Suggests Lowering the Drunk Driving Threshold: Is It the Right Decision?

Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) voted to recommend that all 50 states lower the current drunk driving threshold from a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% to a blood-alcohol content of 0.05%. At first glance, the recommendation seems uncontroversial. Who (other than a potential drunk driver) is going to argue against making this?

The Argument Is Not so Clear Cut

Some groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and restaurant trade groups, have come out against the NTSB proposal for lowering the BAC from 0.08% to 0.05%. Accordingly, it is important to look at the reasons for the government’s proposal and the reasons that some groups oppose it.

Generally, the NTSB argument for lowering the BAC to 0.05% is that the move would save lives and prevent accident injuries. The United States is currently in the minority of countries that has set 0.08% as the limit for drunk driving. Most European and South American countries set the limit at 0.05%.

However, opponents of the NTSB recommendation offer different arguments. MADD, for example, doesn’t disagree with lowering the BAC level in principle. However, the organization believes that the federal government is focusing its efforts in the wrong place and that the change will not help prevent drunk driving accidents in the near future. Other groups, such as restaurant trade groups, believe that the lowering of the BAC level will criminally penalize responsible drivers and not do anything to prevent drivers whose alcohol content impairs their safe driving from getting behind the wheel.

People Will Be Hurt as the Debate Continues

We do not yet know whether the BAC level or definition of drunk driving in Virginia or around the United States will change. What we do know is that if a change is to occur it will not happen overnight and that people will, unfortunately, continue to be hurt and killed by drunk drivers.

If you have been hurt, or if you have lost a loved one in a Virginia drunk driving crash, then we encourage you to contact an experienced Virginia drunk driving accident lawyer today at 540-341-0007 or 888-907-2631 for a FREE consultation about your rights.

Andrew Thomas
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Andrew Thomas is an experienced civil litigation attorney in Virginia and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.