Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board finally made
a recommendation that everybody had seen coming: the board would like
to see all 50 states adopt a blood-alcohol content (BAC) cutoff of 0.05.
The NTSB is not a government agency, but that does not make its recommendations
any less influential. For the past decade, the benchmark for legal intoxication
has been 0.08, but the NTSB argues that lowering the rate to 0.05 could
save about a 1000 lives every year. However, the NTSB recommendation has
drawn pretty serious criticism in the days since it was issued.
As one New York Times article implied,a 130 pound woman would probably reach the 0.05 limit after consuming less
than 2 drinks in an hour. Considering this standard, the article goes on to quote some of most
notable criticism of the NTSB recommendation. Critics of a new limit,
including members of prominent advocacy groups, argue that a limit of
0.05 is ridiculous for many reasons.
For one, the limit nearly eliminates any possibility for social drinking
at all. More importantly, the new limit will hardly be helpful: most people
can pass field sobriety tests at BAC levels of 0.05 and to try to enforce
such a low limit would distract police attention from the biggest source of
DWI related deaths and injuries: heavy drinkers and repeat offenders.
As American Beverage Institute Managing Director Sarah Longwell put it,
“Further restricting the moderate consumption of alcohol by responsible
adults prior to driving does nothing to stop hardcore drunk drivers from
getting behind the wheel. It would simply divert valuable public resources
that should be used to pursue the most dangerous offenders and instead
use them to target drivers engaging in perfectly safe behavior.”
In short, a 0.05 BAC limit would probably be a serious mistake: it would
criminalize responsible adults and waste taxpayer-funded resources. Too
many people are already criminalized wrongfully by improperly trained
law enforcement – lowering the BAC limit would be disastrous.
The DWI/DUI defense attorneys at our
criminal defense law firm fully understand the ways that people are wrongly criminalized.
If you or somebody you care about has been charged with
drunk driving in Texas,
contact our highly experienced defense attorneys online or toll-free at
1-877-316-1373 to schedule your free case assessment today.