Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Drunk driving may see tougher standards

In the past when there has been the loss of a loved one owing to a drunk driver, the standard for presumptive insobriety has stood at .08 blood alcohol content. If a federal safety board has its way, however, the driver buzzed at .05 blood alcohol level may be facing responsibility for a wrongful death.

More than 100 countries have adopted the .05 alcohol content standard or lower, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board. Furthermore, the staff opines that the tougher measure is saving lives abroad.

In Pittsburgh, Peoria -- or Amsterdam -- the recommended standard would allow about one drink for a woman weighing fewer than 120 pounds and two shots for a 160-pound man. According to the precise arithmetic, a drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of 80-proof alcohol in most studies.

The reasoning for the new recommended standard is that drunken driving claims the lives of about a third of the more than 30,000 people killed each year on U.S. highways -- a bloody statistic that has remained fairly constant for the last 15 years.

According to officials, getting U.S. jurisdiction to put the stringent .05 blood alcohol content onto the statue books will be a hard row to hoe.

Most states favor more widespread use of use of alcohol ignition interlock devices. These require a driver to breathe into a tube, much like the breathalyzers police ask suspected drunken drivers to use.

Some progressive states already require all convicted drunken drivers install the interlock devices in their vehicles. Currently, 17 states and two California counties require convicted drivers use the devices.

Meanwhile, studies show more than 4 million people a year in the U.S. drive while intoxicated -- plenty of business for the wrongful death attorneys who endeavor to pick up the pieces in a fair, just and reasonable way.

Source:  Huffington Post Crime, "Lowering Legal Blood Alcohol Limit From .08 To .05 Recommended By Safety Board" Joan Lowy, May. 15, 2013

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