According to a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (National Academies), states should change the legal blood alcohol concentration percentage (BAC) from .08 percent to .05 percent to reduce alcohol-related traffic fatalities. More than 10,000 alcohol-related fatalities occur each year and approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities are attributable to drunk driving. The National Academies recommends that all states adopt this, as well as other recommendations at all levels of government.
The National Academies Report Recommendations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one person suffers fatal injuries every 51 minutes in the United States, and that 40 percent of traffic victims are people other than the drunk driver. To address this epidemic, the authors of the National Academies recommend lowering the legal BAC limits for drivers, in addition to other policy changes. Some of the other recommendations include:
- Federal and state government increase alcohol tax
- State and local government reduction in alcohol-serving and selling establishments, and reduction in days and hours of operation
- Allocation of federal, state, and local government resources to stop the illegal sale of alcohol to people under the age of 21 or those who are already intoxicated
- Strengthening existing and implementing further standards regarding alcohol marketing at the federal, state, and local governments
- Federal financial incentives for state governments to adopt the .05 percent BAC limit
- Enactment of the lower BAC threshold amidst media campaigns and widespread publicity
- State and local sobriety checkpoints and public enforcement initiatives
- Eventual implementation of technology required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) designed to prevent intoxicated people from starting the ignition in all new vehicles, and policy discounts from auto insurers to those who have that technology
- Municipal support of all programs and policies that promote the use of alternative transportation for drunk drivers
- Implementation of DWI courts by every state
- Support from health care systems and insurers for treatment and prevention of alcohol-related disorders through a variety of treatment strategies, including screening, intervention, referral, and cognitive behavioral and medicinal therapy
- Enactment by all states of all-offender ignition interlock laws that apply to those with an illegal BAC, along with increased monitoring periods for those with high BACs or previous drunk-driving offenses
Controversy Surrounding the Recommendations
Some people express concern that implementing stricter BAC limits would harm businesses, such as bars and liquor stores. However, the authors of the National Academies report say that sweeping change is necessary to accomplish their goal of Vision Zero; zero fatalities due to drunk driving. Other countries including Austria, Denmark, and Japan have already imposed the reduced BAC limit of .05 percent, and states including New York are considering doing the same. The authors of the National Academies report hope that this will be an incentive for other states to follow suit.
Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Seek Justice and Compensation for Those Injured by Drunk Drivers
If you were injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, contact an experienced Delaware County car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Our attorneys provide result-oriented representation to victims of car accidents throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-8488 for a free consultation.