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All Press Releases for December 20, 2013 »
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Is the recommended lower BAC limit likely to affect Californians soon?

Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that every state lower the legal blood-alcohol content limit.
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    December 20, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The decision to drive while intoxicated can have life-changing consequences, both for a driver and for other motorists. Anyone who has been arrested for driving under the influence in San Francisco or elsewhere in California knows that the state DUI laws and penalties can be harsh.

Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that every state lower the legal blood-alcohol content limit. This change could have serious effects on drivers in California, but it may be some time before any changes are actually made.

Rationale for a lower limit

The NTSB has suggested that the blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit be lowered from .08 percent to .05 percent, according to NBC Bay Area. Some experts believe that this change could save a significant number of lives. Advocates of the lower limit point out the following:
- Most European countries already have a limit of .05 percent.
- Australian traffic fatalities dropped by 5 to 18 percent when the limit there was changed from .08 percent to .05 percent.
- The NTSB reports that accidents involving drunk drivers kill almost 10,000 people and injure about 170,000 annually.
- An estimated one in ten of those deaths -- in other words, 1,000 deaths each year -- could be prevented with a lower BAC limit.

Many people have questioned whether lowering the limit to .05 percent would have the effects that proponents describe.

Proposal met with mixed response

According to the San Jose Mercury News, traffic safety and beverage industry groups have had mixed reactions to the proposed new limit. Some critics believe that the change would punish fairly responsible drivers while distracting the authorities from people who drive with a BAC level significantly above the legal limit. Other critics believe that the changes simply might not be as effective at saving lives as projected.

The San Jose Mercury News also reports that, even if California does choose to adopt the lower limit, the change may be a long way off. The article points out that the last recommended BAC change was not implemented throughout the country until roughly two decades after it was proposed. If California does follow the NTSB recommendations, though, many drivers -- even those who try to responsibly limit their drinking -- may feel the effects. It may not be realistic for Californians to expect a BAC change to occur immediately, but it is important for drivers to stay aware of the law and their rights.

Anyone who is arrested for DUI in California should contact an experienced attorney who is familiar with the law and can ensure that the driver's rights and interests are protected.

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