Federal Government recommends reducing the Blood/Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for legal driving to 0.05%.
History of BAC Levels:
It is universally understood that driving a motor vehicle anywhere in the United States with a blood/alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater is illegal and that all such persons are “presumed” impaired. This presumption is made without regard to sex, body weight, or tolerance. If you operate a motor vehicle in the United States and your BAC is 0.08% or greater, you are guilty of drunk driving………Period!
In 1939, Indiana became the first state to establish a “Per Se” legal limit for drinking and driving and established 0.15% BAC as their legal limit. Over the course of the next 20 years, several states established legal BAC limits at 0.10%. By the late 1990’s, many states took the bold move to voluntarily reduce their legal limit for BAC to 0.08%.
Finally, in an appropriations bill passed in 2001, The United States Congress ordered all states to reduce their BAC limit to 0.08% or risk being cut-off from receiving Federal Highway Funds. By 2004, all 50 states had accepted 0.08% BAC as the nationally accepted standard and it has remained there for the past 10 years.
Reducing the legal limit:
Today, the Federal Government, and specifically the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is at it again. There is a movement afoot that is aimed at reducing the nationally accepted BAC level to 0.05% and NHTSA has asked all 50 states to follow suit. More than 100 countries on six continents have adopted this lower standard and the United States Government believes it is time to fall into line.
A recent study conducted by the University of California, San Diego, found that even “minimally buzzed” drivers account for more fatal car crashes than completely sober drivers. “Buzzed drivers” were identified as those persons who operated a motor vehicle with BAC levels ranging from 0.01% to 0.07%. The university study found that despite the fact that “buzzed drivers” are rarely prosecuted, they are still 46% more likely to cause a traffic accident than a completely sober person with a BAC of 0.00%.
The Chairman of NHTSA, Deborah Hersman, said, “Impaired driving is still a national epidemic. On average, one person is killed every hour and 20 more are injured.” She went on to say, “Alcohol-impaired crashes are not accidents. They are crimes.” The San Diego study goes on to state, “We find no safe combination of drinking and driving—no point at which it is harmless to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car.”
At this point, the Federal Government is asking all state’s to voluntarily set 0.05% as their BAC limit for impaired driving. It can only be a matter of time before they decide to compel the states to obey their edict or lose some federal benefit that the states rely upon. Essentially, the Federal Government will extort the states to play ball.