Today the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that states lower the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.05 percent from the 0.08 percent. I applaud this action.
More than 10,000 Americans are killed and 170,000 people are injured each year due to drunken driving crashes. Every hour one person is killed and 20 people are injured. Over 440,000 Americans have been killed by drunk drivers in the last three decades. That’s shocking.
Is there a good reason why a man who weighs 180 pounds should be allowed to drink four beers or glasses of wine in 90 minutes and legally be allowed to drive? The rest of the world permits a BAC of less than 0.05 percent and many countries have a zero alcohol tolerance policy.
The NTSB also made these recommendations: increase high visibility law enforcement, deploy in-vehicle alcohol detection technology, require engine interlocks for all offenders, increase use of drivers license suspensions, target and address repeat offenders, and increase DWI courts.
I’ve handled far too many cases on behalf of the victims of drunk driving wrecks. I’ve settled two cases in the past two weeks for full value. But this is a pernicious and inexcusable problem that we as a society have to stop, or at the very least curtail.
Maybe one way to sell this to the public is that cutting the drunk driving crash rate will hurt a lot of personal injury lawyers financially. Oh well, I’m still in favor of the NTSB proposals and think that we Texans should demand these changes.
Here’s a chart I’ve used in court with more information on the effects of higher BAC on driving: Chart BAC effects.pdf