In Maryland, drivers are legally drunk if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report that recommends lowering the minimum BAC to 0.05 percent to reduce alcohol-related fatalities. This is just one of many recommendations that the National Academies has made to address the sobering statistics related to alcohol consumption and operating a motor vehicle.
In addition to lowering the BAC threshold, the National Academies is also pushing for higher taxes on alcohol, strengthening the current policies to prevent the sale of alcohol to underage customers and those who are visibly intoxicated, and requiring all offenders to install ignition locks. They also recommend alcohol treatment programs for those offenders who need help. While some might consider these recommendations to be somewhat controversial, the authors of the study believe that the number of alcohol-related fatalities warrants more aggressive steps. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-third of traffic fatalities are caused by drunk drivers, and 40 percent of those fatalities are victims who have been hit by a drunk driver.
Impact of Lower BAC Threshold Requirement
Calculating a person’s BAC level can be difficult because there are so many inconsistencies, such as weight, age, the ability to metabolize alcohol, and whether the alcoholic beverage is consumed with drinks containing caffeine. However, if a woman of average height and weight drinks a five-ounce glass of wine over a one-hour period, her ability to drive will be impaired, based on the new policies recommended by the National Academies. Similarly, a man of average height and weight who had the same drink during the same period would also be considered impaired.
Ultimately, the report strives for a goal of zero drunk driving-related fatalities. According to an adjunct professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, senior fellow at the Public Health Institute, and senior fellow at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California, the committee believes that drunk driving accidents are a network of events and circumstances that can be prevented. It is a public health issue that needs to be reversed.
Other recommendations that the committee has made include the following:
Increase tax on alcoholic beverages
State and local governments should limit the number of places that sell and serve alcohol, and consider reducing the number of days and hours when alcohol is sold
Strengthen laws that prevent intoxicated adults and underage customers from purchasing alcohol
Limit the amount of media campaigns geared towards the sale of alcohol and establish consequences for violations
Increase the number of sobriety checkpoints
Make public transportation more widely available, convenient, safe, and affordable for people who might drive drunk
Auto insurers should offer policy discounts for drivers who install preventative in-vehicle technology
States should enforce all-offender ignition interlock laws
Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Too many people continue to lose their lives in drunk driving accidents, a problem which is entirely preventable. Our dedicated team will seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve, while ensuring that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent injured victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.