Lowering the Blood Alcohol Concentration Threshold in the U.S. Could Save Lives
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has published a report outlining a plan to reduce drunk driving accidents across the United States. Specifically, it calls for the lowering of the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold from 0.08% to 0.05%. Right now, all U.S. states have a standard of 0.08%, although Utah has passed a law that will lower the threshold to 0.05% starting December 30, 2018.
The scientific panel claims that lowering the BAC threshold could drastically reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents each year. Currently, around 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents annually, and 40% of those are people other than the intoxicated driver. Thousands more are injured in these crashes. Alcohol-related accidents are responsible for about 28% of all traffic fatalities, and the scientific panel is calling for change.
Many other high-income countries have already accepted the reduced standard. The panel showed that Europe saw a 50% decrease in drunk driving fatalities within 10 years of the change. The panel has also suggested putting a limit on alcohol marketing, curbing the sale of alcohol to those under the age of 21 who are already intoxicated, and funding anti-alcohol campaigns to spread awareness to the public. By taking these steps, the U.S. government could play an active role in saving thousands of lives from alcohol-related crashes.
Understanding the Effects of Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks affect different people in different ways. Those who have more muscle mass may be able to drink a couple beers before crossing the legal threshold, while those who weigh less may cross the threshold after just one drink. Furthermore, the consumption of food affects how alcohol is absorbed into the body. Alcohol causes severe impairment, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to drive safely.
The effects of alcohol include:
- Slow reaction times
- Blurred vision
- Heavy limbs
- Impaired muscle coordination
- Difficulty concentrating
- Impaired judgment
From this list, it is easy to see why drinking and driving is such a dangerous choice. Drivers must be able to focus on the road, obey all traffic laws, and make split second decisions to avoid obstacles and prevent an accident. When a driver is drunk, he or she may fail acknowledge red lights, drift out of the lane, make turns without signaling, and speed over the limit. All these factors make drunk driving incredibly risky. Instead, those who go out drinking should take an Uber or have a designated driver in order to keep others safe.
Hold Drunk Drivers Accountable with the Help of Our Kansas City Attorneys
Drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road. If they choose to drive after being intoxicated, they must be held legally responsible in court. Our firm believes that no one should be able to drink and drive without suffering the consequences. We will fight diligently on your behalf to uphold justice. If you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed by a drunk driver, our team of Kansas City drunk driving accident lawyers will make every effort to help ensure that person never does it again.
Contact us today for compassionate representation. We offer free consultations for your convenience.