ABA Journal


Criminal Justice

Lower the blood-alcohol limit for drivers, NTSB recommends

May 14, 2013, 06:29 pm CDT


That can add up to a lot of drinks that won't be sold. My bet is that the beverage lobby won't stand for this.

By faddking on 2013 05 15, 3:59 am CDT

@1. "My bet is that the beverage lobby won’t stand for this. "

Really? Did drink sales plummet when the limit was lowered from 0.1% to 0.08? I don't recall reading about it.

By W.R.T. on 2013 05 15, 4:37 am CDT

More bad policy from the fear merchants. 169% more likely? That's literally an invented figure. What study did they do where a significant amount of drivers avoided an accident vs those who did not? It cannot be studied. It is unknowable how many people drive safely above the current limit.
This is not to say we can't have smart laws that keep people safe but throwing our percentages is plain irresponsible.
The limit is already too low. Let law enforcement do their jobs. They are trained and can spot bad driving and apprehend dangerous drivers.
There is no need to make the crime basically strict liability and put more innocent people behind bars. At .05 someone celebrating Mother's Day with 2 glasses of wine would be guilty yet threatening no one.
Furthermore, current law allows for law enforcement to apprehend dangerous drink drivers who are under the limit if they are posing a threat. Automatically criminalizing those who pose no threat adds nothing for public safety.
If we are serious about safety what we need are stronger public transportation systems with easy to find cabs, rail, safe overnight parking etc. Training and support for the beverage service industry to "take keys" when necessary is also a better solution.
As usual, however, political groups take the easy way out and just "get tough on crime". This time it is worse because they are throwing out fantasy numbers in their proposal.

By Erick Victor Munoz on 2013 05 15, 5:10 pm CDT

0.05 isn't a bad standard. Colorado for years used it as driving while ability impaired, and 0.10 for driving under the influence. Then came the Feds with their $ stick, and the 0.1 got lowered to 0.08.

Yes, the penalty for DWAI is less. And at 8 points (out of 12) you can keep your license if you don't have 4 on it already. Yes, DWAI is more apt to be plea bargained down to some non-alcohol related offense in the absence of an accident. But it hasn't hurt the liquor or restaurant industry..

Which isn't to say 0.05 has proven to save lives. That would be quite hard to demonstrate in any kind of statistically rigorous way, seems to me. Does keep me down to one beer.

By Walt Fricke on 2013 05 15, 9:37 pm CDT


That didn't stop a beverage industry lobbyist from whining about it on CNN the other day, as predicted.

By faddking on 2013 05 16, 8:45 am CDT

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