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The Law Office of


(619) 326-8161

Why should you care the NTSB wants to lower the legal limit to .05?

Lowering the Legal Limit

I get it, you don’t care about a DUI driver. You have no mercy and don’t feel sorry for them. Soon enough, it could be you.

One of the easiest targets out there is the DUI driver. No one likes a DUI driver. MADD has orchestrated a masterful campaign to demonize alleged DUI drivers. You’re probably thinking right now, “yeah, so?” I’m not suggesting you’re wrong to feel that way; drunk drivers have caused a ton of destruction and devastation. I don’t think you’d be able to find a single person who suggests DUI driving is acceptable. My mother often asks me, “how can you defend drunk drivers?”

It’s a fair question and some recent news articles help me illustrate my position. The legal limit is .08%. The (I hate to use this term) average female weighs between 140-150lbs and the average male weighs 160 lbs. Using, very rough, estimates that’s about 4 standard (another ill-fated word) drinks in a persons system. That doesn’t mean they have only drank 4 standard drinks, it means there a 4 standard drinks in their system.

There is some scientific support for the premise that all people are impaired for the purposes of driving at a .08. That scientific evidence was used as justification for lowering the blood alcohol limit to .08% years ago. This was largely achieved by the U.S. government withholding highway dollars to force states to adopt the .08% standard. Now the National Transportation Safety Board, led by the hard charging Deborah Hersman, wants to lower to legal limit to .05.

So you ask, “What’s wrong with that?”

Well for starters let’s examine what’s really happening with DUI laws. Do you really think it’s about keeping us safe? I don’t want to sound like too much of a tin foil hat wearing conspirator but MADD successfully championed the inclusion of some ludicrous statistics that are regurgitated ad nauseam  whenever DUIs are brought up.

Essentially, any accident that involves driving and alcohol, no matter how little or who is at fault, is an alcohol related incident. These statistics have been blown way out of proportion to help demonize DUI drivers and make the problem much larger than it actually is. Thank MADD for that, for good or bad. The latest push by the NTSB, in fact, says half of all deadly crashes would go down if the limit was lowered!

DUI’s have essentially become a cash cow for the government. The fines, fees and various programs that the state has licensed for “treatment” add up to a considerable amount of money for the state. No one bats an eye when it involves a DUI driver. You’re still probably saying so what?! Nevermind the fact that the average San Diego DUI driver has a BAC of .15. The courts and entire government bureaucracies have a vested interest in convicting people of DUI, lowering the legal limit just casts a wider net for more money. Nevermind that there has yet to be a single scientifically validated study that says all people are impaired for the purposes of driving at a .05. I challenge anyone to find one.

So what does MADD say about lowering the limit, they’re all for it right? WRONG!

“Running around trying to arrest everyone at .05 is impractical,” Lightner says. Police and prosecutors she spoke with said the lower limit would be “very hard to prosecute,” in part because many of those drivers would pass a field sobriety test, leaving only subjective evidence of impairment.”

“We don’t criminalize less-safe conduct in every instance,” said Talpins, now chairman and CEO of the National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime. “The vast majority of people below .08 will pass a field sobriety test.”

MADD, the organization who led the fight to demonize DUI driving, is against the proposal, so what is the motivation? Money! You still don’t care about the DUI driver, you still think, “yeah, so what? Lower it to .05, lower to .00, don’t drink and drive!” And that’s exactly how successful MADD has been. So when they have been that well received and still don’t buy into it, shouldn’t you take a closer look?

I assure you that no one cares about the DUI driver until they are sitting across my desk from me, crying, worried about how their life is ruined and how they only had a couple drinks at dinner and swore they were OK to drive. Reality sets in then. When they go through the process and realize how much of a sham it is. When they go to the class that is supposed to offer them “treatment” but merely gives them misinformation about how if they are in the passenger seat of a car and that car is pulled over they can get another DUI. (It’s 100% true that is taught, it is also 100% false that they will get another DUI) That’s when you start to care. That’s when it becomes reality.

Remember that average man and woman at the beginning of this blog? That .08 turned into a .05 and that 4 drinks turned into 2-3. Now imagine you had 2 drinks with a friend at dinner, you feel perfectly fine to drive home and on the way you drive into a DUI checkpoint…

Welcome to the other side of my desk…

Suggested links:

NTSB recommends to lower legal blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05