Should the 0.08% Blood Alcohol Limit Be Lower?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | February 15, 2018
Should the 0.08% Blood Alcohol Limit Be Lower?

Currently, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold in all 50 states is 0.08 percent. Recently, however, the calls have been getting stronger for states to lower this threshold to 0.05 percent. A government-commissioned study by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine made this recommendation (among others) when deliberating on ways to reduce the 10,000 alcohol-related traffic deaths that occur each year in the U.S.

At the current legal limit, a driver operating a vehicle at or even under the limit would likely experience impaired vision, coordination, reaction time, and judgment. In fact, research has shown that some people still experience dangerous impairment at 0.05. That’s why there has been such a strong public safety push to alert people of the dangers of having even a single drink before driving. If states lowered the legal limit to 0.05, most women would have to stop at one drink, and most men would have to stop at two or three, depending on weight and other factors. In addition to lowering the BAC, the report suggested that states increase taxes on alcohol sales, limit days and times that stores, bars, and restaurants can sell alcohol, and further crack down on sales to minors.

In the 489-page report, the panel pointed out that driving under the influence is one of the costliest and deadliest dangers on the roadways today. Twenty-nine people die each day on U.S. roads in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 28 percent of all traffic deaths. Forty percent of these deaths were other individuals, not the impaired drivers.

The question becomes, “How effective would lowering the BAC be for reducing drunk-driving injuries and fatalities?” The National Transportation Safety Board reported that Europe saw a 50 percent reduction in drunk-driving traffic deaths in the 10 years after lowering the legal BAC limit. More than 100 other countries have legal limits of 0.05.

It seems clear that lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration limit may deter some people from drinking and driving and causing serious injury accidents. Unfortunately, even actions like these will not prevent everyone from consuming alcohol and driving. If a driver chooses to drink and get behind the wheel, and they cause a serious injury collision or a fatal crash, they may be held liable for their actions.

If a drunk driver hurt you, you have the right to take legal action to seek compensation for your injuries. If you’ve lost a loved one, you can hold the individual accountable for their negligent actions. While a criminal court may punish them for breaking law, you may have the right to seek justice through a civil claim as well.

Contact the Bruning Law Firm for Help With a Drunk Driving Accident Claim

The St. Louis car accident attorneys at the Bruning Law Firm are ready to help you if you’ve been hurt or if you’ve lost someone in a collision caused by a drunk driver. We have the experience you need on your side, and we’ve helped people just like you in St. Louis and across Missouri get the compensation they are owed for their injury claim.

From the first moment you call, you become our first priority, so don’t wait to contact us for help. Call us, chat with us live on our site, or fill out a contact form to schedule a free legal consultation now.

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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