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NTSB Recommends States Lower DUI Threshold to .05

By Josh Silverman on May 14, 2013


The NTSB has recommended that states lower the DUI threshold to .05 as part of its Zero Tolerance campaign.  The NTSB recommendations do not have the force of law in Virginia or any other state.  However, their recommendations often lead to policy changes at the state level.  Currently under Virginia law the threshold is .08.  Technically, the threshold creates a presumption of intoxication.  If your BAC is lower than .08, yet there is evidence that you are intoxicated you can still be convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Practically the lower limit will mean an average size man who has 2-3 drinks in an hour may be legally intoxicated.  A woman who has 2 drinks in an hour may also be legally intoxicated. 

While lowering the BAC may make sense, I personally think equal attention should be paid to reducing distracted driving.  The statistics are scary.  Texting and driving is very common despite laws making it illegal and credible evidence that it is equally as dangerous as driving with a BAC of .08.

Here is a link to the NTSB report: http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2013/eliminate_impaired_driving/presentations/Abstract_Reaching_Zero.pdf

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