DUI Limit Is a Change in the Works?
With the current blood alcohol legal limit for drivers in the United States set at 0.08 percent, which is lower than many parts of the world, some wonder if this could change in the near future.
While many are okay with the current limit, it appears that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is pushing for a change.
Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board took part in a meeting in Washington DC during which time it prompted state authorities to reduce the legal limit to 0.05 percent.
At this time, every state has a blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 percent for drivers age 21 and over.
It is important to note that the National Transportation Safety Board does not have the ability to change state laws on its own. That being said, this recommendation is sure to put plenty of pressure on regulators as well as those representing each individual state.
There is no denying that this is sure to upset many people, especially those who make it a habit to “drink a little” and then operate a motor vehicle.
The National Transportation Safety Board has rolled out a campaign, known as “Reaching Zero” with the intention of decreasing the number of road related alcohol accidents.
Every year, more than 10,000 Americans die due to alcohol related accidents. Along with this, there are even more injuries related to drinking and driving.
Regardless of the fact that this appears to be a good idea on the surface, it is important to note that it took roughly 20 years to lower the legal blood alcohol content limit from 0.10 to 0.08. In fact, it was only in 2004 when every state finally adopted the lower drunk driving limit.
One of the main reasons why every state eventually fell in line is that the federal government threatened to cut back on federal highway funds in states that did not comply.
Does it make sense for the government to do the same once again? At this point, it does not seem that this is likely in the near future. However, pressure from the National Transportation Safety Board, coupled with a push by the federal government, may be enough to make progress.
For a better idea of what this change could do in an overall sense, we don’t have to look any further than what has happened in Europe.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, if the United States implemented a legal limit of 0.05 percent it would not be alone. More than 100 countries currently have this limit, or one with stricter standards, in place.
Even more interesting is this fact: once Europe introduced the lower blood alcohol content limit, traffic deaths related to drunk driving were cut in half within 10 years.
If the United States is serious about making its roads safer for citizens, it will strongly consider reducing the legal limit to 0.05 percent.
Since the change would have to take place on a state level, the sooner the first state gets on board the better.
Current DWI / DUI Penalties by State
The following table has been taken from the Governors Highway Safety Association. It has been used here for the convience of the reader. PLEASE NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on drunk driving laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.
|State||Inc. Penalty for High BAC||Admin. License Susp. on|
|Limited Driving Privileges During Susp.|
Repeat Offender Laws*
Laws Limiting Treatment
|*Meeting Federal Requirements|
(at judges’ disc.)
|90 days||After 30 days||Yes|
|Ariz.||.15||90 days||After 30 days||Yes||Yes|
|Calif.||.15||4 months||After 30 days||Yes||Yes|
|D.C.||.20 and .25||2-90 days or until disposition||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fla.||.20||6 months for DUBAL||After 30 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|12 months for refusal||After 90 days|
|Guam||From .08 to .10||Yes||Yes|
|Hawaii||.15||3 months||After 30 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Idaho||.20||90 days||After 30 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ill.||.16||6 months||After 30 days||Yes||Yes|
|Ind.||.15||180 days||After 30 days||Yes||Yes|
|Iowa||.15||180 days||After 30 days||Yes||Yes|
|Ky.||.18||30 – 120 days||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|La. 1||.15 and .20||See footnote||Yes|
|Md.||.15||45 days||Yes, under certain circum-|
|Mass.||.20 (applies to ages 17-21)||90 days||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mich. 2||.17||See footnote||After 30 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Minn.||.20||90 days||After 15 days||Yes||Yes|
|Mo.||.15||90 days||After 30 days|
|Neb.||.15||90 days||After 30 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Nev.||.18||90 days||After 45 days||Yes||Yes|
|N.M.||.16 (w/ mand. jail on all offenses)||<21: 1 yr.;|
>21: 6 mo.
|Immediately w/ Ignition Interlock||Yes||Yes|
|N.C.||.15||30 days||After 10 days||Yes||Yes|
|N.D.||.18||91 days||After 30 days||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|M.P.||30 days –|
|Ohio||.17||90 days||After 15 days||Yes||Yes|
|Ore.||.15||90 days||After 30 days||Yes||Yes|
|Pa. 3||.16||See footnote||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|R.I.||.10 and .15||Yes|
|S.C.||.15||1 month (for >.15 BAC)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|S.D. 4||.17||See footnote||Yes||Yes|
|Texas||.15||90 days if .08 or greater; 180 days for refusal||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Va.||.15 and .20||7 days||Yes||Yes|
|Wash.||.15||90 days||With an ignition interlock driverâ€™s license||Yes|
|W.Va.||.15||6 months||After 30 days||Yes||Yes|
|Wis.||.17, .20 and .25||6 months||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Total States||48 + D.C., 1 Terr.||42 + D.C., 2 Terr.||36 + D.C., 1 Terr.||31 + 3 Terr.||27 + D.C., 3 Terr.||37|