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Federal Government Advises Lower Legal Alcohol Limit

Posted On: March 8th, 2016 by Bradley J. Groene

As increasing attention is given to enforcement of Ohio DUI laws, federal officials have advocated lowering the legal BAC limit from .08 to .05 nationally. This advice came from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in a report advocating several measures be adopted by the states in order to fight impaired driving. According to the NTSB, the current .08 limit is too high because impairment begins far before a driver ’s BAC reaches .08. In fact, a driver just below the legal limit is already twice as likely to crash than a totally sober driver.

In addition to lowering the legal alcohol limit, the NTSB urges states to take additional methods to deter drinking and driving. The most important recommendation was that all drivers previously convicted of a DUI be forced to install an ignition interlock device and pass a BAC assessment before being able to drive. This recommendation has gained more traction in state legislatures, including here in Ohio, and it has become the main method advocated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The report also notably suggested increased high-visibility enforcement of DUI laws by police and highway patrols.

What Does This Mean For Ohio Drivers?

So far, there are no definitive plans in Ohio to actually change the legal BAC limit for adults who are at least 21. The NTSB is only an advisory body, and states make the drinking laws, not the federal government. No committee has been formed to discuss the issue further in the Ohio legislature, and no representative has taken up lowering the legal limit as a cause. Despite the fact the NTSB made the same recommendation in 2013, the idea seems to have not gotten much traction. Even advocacy organizations such as MADD do not believe that lowering the legal limit should be the government’s main priority in terms of lowering the rates of drinking and driving.

This may be in large part due to a feeling that it should be legal to have a drink of alcohol at dinner and not feel worried about failing a breath test—which many believe would be a possibility if the legal limit were .05, especially for smaller women. In addition, many feel that lowering the legal alcohol limit would do little to actually curb drinking and driving. Since 85 percent of DUI arrests in the U.S. involve behaviors associated with binge drinking, the people putting the public at greatest risk would be unlikely to comply with the new limit regardless. Still others claim that with the rise of Uber and other drive safe apps that those who would follow the new law already do not drink and drive.

At the moment, it seems unlikely that the legal limit will change in Ohio anytime soon. It is possible, however, that law enforcement will be stepping up DUI enforcement, which means that drivers should be extra careful not to drink and drive. If you are arrested for an OVI, you face large fines, loss of your license, and mandatory jail time. That’s why a strong, aggressive defense is necessary any time you have been arrested for driving under the influence. After an OVI arrest in the Cincinnati area, call the Ohio DUI lawyers at Luftman, Heck, and Associates right away at (513) 338-1890 to set up a free consultation on your case. Find out how we may be able to help you successfully fight the charges for the best possible outcome.



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Bradley Groene made an exceptionally difficult situation much easier to handle. He kept me informed of everything that was going to happen and got results for my case far better than I could have hoped for. I would highly recommend him for anyone who finds themselves in legal troubles.

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