When people have been drinking but have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than the legal limit, are they still a danger on the roads? It is possible. But how low will states go in setting blood alcohol limits to try to reduce drunk driving?
How did Utah compare with its 0.05% BAC limit?
In 2018, Utah became the first state to reduce its per se DUI blood alcohol concentration level to 0.05%, which is the level now recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) This study found that there had been a 9% reduction in crashes where the drinking driver was below the legal limit.
“Lower alcohol crashes have been underestimated as a public health problem. Our research suggests that stringent alcohol policies reduce the likelihood of fatal accidents involving drivers with all levels of alcohol blood concentration,” said the lead investigator.
More states will probably reduce their BAC limits
In Tennessee, the blood alcohol limit for a per se DUI continues to be 0.08%, but studies like this one will put pressure on lawmakers to reduce that legal level to 0.05% or even lower. Additionally, if and when federal funding becomes dependent on states adopting this new lower standard, Tennessee and other states will likely fall in line with the NTSB’s recommendation.
It’s important to know that you can still be charged with DUI even if you are below 0.08%.
Light drinkers should be aware of this trend and remain vigilant about possible impairment. If you do make a mistake or are charged with DUI, contact an experienced defense attorney.