National Academies of Science Panel Recommends Lower Drunken Driving Threshold
Each year 10,000 preventable deaths occur as a result of drunken driving accidents. In an effort to reduce this unnecessary carnage, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) commissioned a study from the National Academies of Sciences to identify the most effective proven strategies for reducing drunken driving. The report, which was released January, 2018, concluded that the majority of alcohol-related traffic deaths could be eliminated if states reduced their blood-alcohol concentration threshold from 0.08 to 0.05. All states currently have 0.08 thresholds although Utah passed a law last year that will lower the state’s threshold to 0.05 beginning Dec. 30, 2018.
At Tario & Associates, P.S. we fight for victims of drunken driving accidents. If you or a loved one is suffering serious injuries, medical expenses and even lost wages because of a drunk driver contact our law firm as soon as possible.
What would lowering the drunken driving threshold practically mean?
The amount of alcohol that a person could drink and remain under the 0.05 threshold varies from person to person and hinges on factors such as gender, size, and whether the person has recently eaten food. The average woman would not be able to consume more than two alcoholic beverages and the average man would not be able to consume more than three alcoholic beverages to maintain a blood alcohol level under 0.05.
Other recommendations to reduce drunken driving accidents
The study pointed out that a coordinated, multi-prong approach is the most effective way to reduce these unnecessary deaths. In addition to lowering the blood alcohol threshold, the panel recommended doubling alcohol taxes because it could lead to an 11 percent reduction in traffic crash deaths and making alcohol less conveniently available by reducing hours and days that alcohol is sold in stores, bars and restaurants. Further recommendations include:
- Enforcement of people selling or purchasing alcohol for people under 21 years of age
- Enforcement on bartenders who serve alcohol to already intoxicated customers
- Limiting alcohol marketing
- Funding anti-alcohol campaigns like those used to discourage youth from smoking
Drunken driving statistics
According to the report, “alcohol-impaired driving remains the deadliest and costliest danger on U.S. roads.” Drunken driving accidents are responsible for 28 percent of traffic deaths; 29 people die in the U.S. every day from alcohol-related crashes and many more are injured. Note that rural areas account for 48 percent of drunken driving fatalities. It is important to understand that forty percent of those killed are people other than the drunken driver; the true victims of drinking and driving crashes.
While the U.S. made major progress between 1980 and 2000 by reducing the blood alcohol limit to 0.08 and increasing the drinking age to 21 across all states, progress has stalled and is even starting to regress. The report points out that other developed nations have made significant reductions in the driving fatalities by implementing the lower 0.05 blood alcohol threshold. In Europe, for example, the percentage of traffic deaths caused by drunken driving was reduced by more than half within 10 years after the standard was dropped.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!