Every year, approximately 10,000 Americans die in traffic collisions that were caused by drunk driving. Though this figure is certainly lower than it once was, a team of researchers from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine believes that it can reduce the number of these "entirely preventable" fatalities even further.
Their plan, brought forward in a 489-page report, recommends that states across the nation reduce their drunk driving thresholds from a blood alcohol content of 0.08 to 0.05. While this proposed change has been met with some significant pushback from the food and beverage industry, it has proven to be successful in other countries.
When Australia dropped their BAC threshold from 0.08 to 0.05 in 1991, traffic fatalities dropped by as much as 18 percent in some provinces. Indeed, the change proved so successful that Australia is currently considering reducing the limit to 0.02 - which would bring it in line with countries such as Sweden, Poland, and Estonia.
Given their strict approach to drunk driving, it should perhaps come as no surprise to learn that Sweden's roads are among the safest in the world. Their laws, which include steep fines and guaranteed jail time for drivers who massively exceed the allowed limit, have allowed them to report one of the lowest road fatality rates of any nation on earth. According to the World Health Organization, Sweden sees just 2.8 road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants each year. In contrast, the United States sees 10.9.
In the face of such overwhelming data, it seems almost inevitable that a lower blood alcohol content threshold will soon emerge across the United States. Indeed, the state of Utah has already introduced a 0.05 BAC threshold. All that remains to be seen is how long it takes to spread to the rest of the nation.
If you have been involved in an alcohol-related traffic incident, you will no doubt require the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you with your next steps. At Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake, we have been involved in DUI, DWI, and traffic accident law for more than 50 years, and we are ready to fight for you. To learn more about how we can help and to set up an initial consultation, simply pick up the phone and give us a call at (410) 927-5137.