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Will Texas follow suggestion from agency to lower the legal limit?

In May of this year, the NTSB urged states to pass legislation that lowers the legal limit down to 0.05.
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    December 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Drunk driving has been a topic of discussion in Houston and nationally for many years. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, they will be pushing for stronger laws in Texas that encourage the use of sobriety checkpoints and force anyone convicted of a DWI offense to use an ignition interlock.

Recommendation for lower limit

In May of this year, states were urged to pass legislation that lowers the legal limit down to 0.05. Currently the legal limit is established at 0.08 according to U.S. News. The recommendation came from the National Transportation Safety Board and was backed with several supporting arguments:
- Many other nations have already lowered their legal limits to 0.05.
- 4 million people admitted to drinking and driving in studies conducted.
- Studies indicate that some people showed signs of impairment with a blood alcohol content of 0.07.
- Up to a 1,000 lives could be saved if the legal limit was lowered.
- Australia's provinces experienced a decrease in traffic fatalities related to alcohol.
- When a person's BAC is 0.05, their risk of getting into a car accident increases.

However, the last attempt to change the legal limit nationwide took 21 years. The NTSB can make recommendations to states but does not have the authority to force states to follow its suggestions.

Criminalizing responsible behavior

While some people agree with the NTSB's recommendation, others believe that lowering the legal limit will criminalize responsible behavior. The managing director of the American Beverage Institute made the statement that taking such action would not prevent people with a high BAC from driving.

The editorial board of USA Today also agrees. The board points out the fact that countries with a lower BAC hold sobriety checkpoints often and have established large fines for offenders, and these factors could influence the decrease in alcohol-related deaths. The board stated that it doesn't take much alcohol for a person to reach a BAC of 0.05. A woman could reach that with two glasses of wine or beer and the average man could reach it after three glasses.

Texans' reaction

Dallas County's sheriff says that lowering the legal limit would encourage people to think about the alcohol they are consuming, according to CBS DFW. However, other Texans don't agree. News-Journal interviewed bar patrons in Longview who saw the suggestion as an invasion of their rights. One man pointed out that the law wasn't likely to make any difference and would lead to the closure of some bars since the sale of alcoholic drinks would likely go down.

There is no indication that Texas lawmakers will be presenting legislation to lower the legal limit. A measure was presented in 2010 to lower the limit to 0.05, according to Free Republic but apparently failed to find support. When people are arrested for drinking and driving they should contact an experienced attorney who can provide legal advice and options.

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