VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Is the U.S. heading toward a lower blood alcohol limit?

While we would like to think that most people understand and appreciate the dangers of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink, statistics show that people still aren't getting the message. Indeed, as recently as 2014, nearly 10,000 lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes.

In recognition of grim figures like these, the National Transportation Safety Board has once again recommended that the 50 states seriously consider lowering the legal limit for blood-alcohol content.

How low did the NTSB recommend lowering the blood alcohol limit?

The NTSB is recommending that the states lower the BAC limit from the universal .08 to .05, arguing that it would save roughly 1,000 lives every year.

Would this difference of three tenths of a percentage point have that significant of an impact?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses two basic metrics when discussing blood alcohol content. First, it defines a "drink" as the equivalent of one 12-ounce beer, 1 shot of hard alcohol or 4 ounces of wine. Second, it uses a 160-pound male as its hypothetical test subject for gauging alcohol consumption.

According to the CDC, the 160-pound male will have a BAC of .08 after consuming four drinks in one hour and a BAC of .05 after consuming three drinks in one hour.

Are the states essentially required to lower their blood alcohol limit?

As mentioned above, the NTSB is only recommending that the states take this action, meaning they are free to pass on the matter.

Is there any movement here in Florida to lower the BAC to .05?

At least one lawmaker, Rep. Irv Slosberg (D-Delray Beach), has expressed an interest in introducing a bill to lower the BAC here in Florida. It remains to be seen how receptive state lawmakers would be to such a move.

If you have suffered serious personal injuries or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, please understand that you do have rights, you do have options and you do have avenues for seeking justice.   

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