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NTSB Recommends Lowering BAC from .08% to .05%


On May 14, 2013 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a statement that outlined what they believe is needed to help the United States eventually eliminate alcohol-related automobile accidents. Perhaps most notable of the targeted interventions is their recommendation that states lower the BAC limit from .08% to .05%. The statement referenced research that shows that when a driver's BAC reaches just .05%, their cognitive and visual functions are impaired, which significantly increases their risk of being involved in a serious accident. More than 100 countries throughout the world have BAC limits of .05% or lower, and the NTSB is asking the United States to follow suit.

Although the NTSB recommends these changes as a way to prevent harmful and fatal DUI accidents across the country, a number of leading organizations do not endorse their recommendation, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), AAA, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). MADD was heavily involved in getting legislation passed that created a national BAC limit of .08%, yet they do not believe that lowering the BAC once again is the way to prevent further drunk driving victims.

MADD believes that the only way to eliminate DUI accidents is to not drink and drive at all. To achieve this goal, they believe that other measures are just as significant, such as the mandatory instillation of ignition interlock devices (Breathalyzers on your vehicles) for all convicted drunk drivers and the development of more advanced alcohol detection systems, which one day could prevent drunk drivers from being able to even turn their vehicles on. Critics of the NTSB recommendation note the difficulties legislators faced getting the BAC limit lowered to .08%, and think it would be incredibly difficult to convince states to further lower the limit.

Regardless of what side of this issue you're on, it's important to note that the NTSB's recommendation is just that, a recommendation; they have no legal authority to enforce it. It's up to each individual state to propose and adopt the law, and if anything happens, it'll take a lot of time to impletment. The move from a .10 limit to .08 took 21 years to implement countrywide.

Gigstad Law Office, LLC provides clients in Kansas with aggressive defense against DUI and criminal charges, and we can help protect your rights. Contact an Overland Park DUI lawyer from our firm to discuss your defense options if you are charged with drunk driving.