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New DUI limit could drop to 0.05 percent

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is urging states to lower the legal blood-alcohol content limit for drunk driving from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. The move, which would bring the nation into line with most other nations' guidelines, is likely to significantly reduce the number of roadway deaths, according to driving experts. To put the new limit in perspective, 120-pound female Kansas drivers would be considered impaired after consuming a single drink; larger men might be able to consume two beverages before reaching the limit.

Officials say that more than 100 countries worldwide have adopted the lower standard. European nations report slashing their drunk-driving death rates in half as a result of the change. Even though NTSB leaders say they do not intend to prevent diners from having a single glass of wine with dinner, they are trying to send a message that those who drink should not get behind the wheel at all. In fact, true impairment can start as low as 0.01 percent for many adults, most of whom experience a significant level of performance deficiencies as the 0.05 percent threshold is approached.

Kansas leaders say that a new approach will be necessary to stem the tide of drunk-driving deaths; more than 30,000 people are killed annually on the nation's highways as a result of the practice. That number has not dropped in the past 15 years, causing significant concern among safety officials. Even though a number of political groups are rallying around the proposed changes, government leaders say they expect resistance from industry groups and private citizens. Representatives say it was difficult to get most states to change their limits to 0.08 percent; it is unlikely that they will adopt even lower standards without some controversy.

Current mandates dictate that the legal definition of impairment is 0.08 percent BAC. If you have been arrested for DWI or DUI, your BAC reading may be called into question because of faulty equipment or legal missteps. Don't suffer through the defense process alone; consult the services of a qualified drunk-driving defense attorney. These professionals can help you learn more about your rights and responsibilities throughout the criminal process.

Source:, "National Transportation Safety Board urges lowering driving threshold to 0.05" Joan Lowy, May. 15, 2013

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