July 20, 2019  Last Update: November 27, 2017, 8:52 pm

Get Ready for New DUI Blood Alcohol Limit of .05%BAC

Cover of "Reaching Zero" PDF from NTSB Safety Report NTSB/SR-13/01PB2013-106566

Cover of “Reaching Zero” Safety Report from NTSB (NTSB/SR-13/01PB2013-106566)

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman, Deborah Hersman is proposing cutting the current legal maximum blood alcohol level of .08% to at least .05%… or less. In a press release today Ms. Hersman announced a proposed 19 recommendations that would hopefully result in stronger laws, swifter enforcement and an increased use of technology to bring alcohol related traffic accidents to zero.

“Alcohol-impaired crashes are not accidents,” said Hersman. “They are crimes. They can – and should – be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will.” Anyone wishing to read the full report, “Reaching Zero: Actions to Reduce Alcohol-Impaired Driving,” can find it at the link below.

“Most Americans think that we’ve solved the problem of impaired driving, but in fact, it’s still a national epidemic,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said. “On average, every hour one person is killed and 20 more are injured.”

Alcohol-impaired crashes are not accidents... they are crimes.


  1. Brandon says:

    I think the ZERO in “reach Zero” is zero DUI fatalities, not 0% blood alcohol. If there was 0% blood alcohol how could there be a dui?

    It is a great question how low do they want to go with BAC. When someone is driving and clearly visibly drunk, it makes sense to test them because you need proof for court. But if they are not drunk, why are you testing? If you test because you know they are not ok to drive, but don’t know why, then maybe that’s ok to see if they are drunk.

    When you start testing people who are not drunk, you cross the line into privacy and cost issues. If they were driving badly, cite them for that. If they are impaired, cite them for that. If they are unable to drive, do something about that? But tests for alcohol in someone with low BAC is not reliable and maybe is a bad idea.

  2. The alcohol concentration used for court is measured with a blood test so it is accurate always. But it does not always measure what you think it does. Very low levels of alcohol come from natural processes like digestion of food. I don’t know if normal ranges have been established for blood alcohol at lower levels. I think it would vary with things like culture (race, if you eat according to race/culture such as ethnic foods).

    A “good lawyer” can fight any DUI charge. It is really just throwing diligence at the charges and investigating the procedures carried out, along with every detail of the circumstances. At some point it’s almost a question of funding – do you have enough money to pay for enough legal diligence to fight the case. That becomes unfair. I think it would be worse with lower thresholds for convictions (more unfair).

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