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NTSB recommends lower BAC threshold

All 50 states, including New Jersey, have received a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board to lower the legal blood alcohol limit for drunk driving from .08 to .05. This measure is intended to reduce fatal car accidents from drunk driving although NTSB has no power to enforce the recommendation. It will be up to the states to make their own decisions regarding blood alcohol limits.

Currently, all states allow drivers over 21 to have a blood alcohol percentage of up to .08 and escape drunk driving charges. The average 180-pound man can reach a blood alcohol threshold of .08 with four drinks in one hour. The new guidelines would cause the same individual to register as drunk with only three drinks. Gender, weight and other biological factors have a large impact on how quickly alcohol is absorbed, so some people will reach this limit more quickly than others.

Drunk driving accounts for about one-third of all vehicle deaths in the United States each year. With thousands of people hurt or killed by drunk drivers, the NTSB hopes that these new guidelines will tighten restrictions on those who drive while intoxicated and perhaps save between 500 and 800 lives each year. States are being urged to consider legislation to lower the standard blood alcohol content limit.

A personal injury attorney could assist someone who was affected by a drunk driving accident. Those who are injured by a drunk driver may be entitled to payment of monetary damages by the responsible person. These damages may include payment of medical bills incurred as a result of the accident as well as payment of lost wages and living expenses during recuperation. The victim may also be able to recover a sum for pain, suffering and mental anguish.

Source: CNN, "Tougher drunk-driving threshold proposed to reduce traffic deaths", Mike Ahlers, May 15, 2013

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