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NHTSA Finds Lower Blood Alcohol Limit Reduces Accident Numbers

Drunk driving accidents can result in serious, if not fatal, injuries and have devastating consequences on all those involved. When states lower the maximum blood alcohol concentration level that a motorist can be driving with in his system, it can lead to an overall reduction in the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol, and consequently, the number of car crashes involving such intoxicated drivers.

In Georgia, as with most other states in the country, the maximum blood alcohol concentration limit for motorists is .08 %.  If a motorist is driving with a blood alcohol concentration above .08%, he can be arrested for driving under the influence. Some states have been experimenting with lower blood alcohol concentration limits in an effort to understand whether this can further help reduce the incidence of intoxicated driving. Early results of those experiments are now out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration specifically focused on a single state that happens to be the only state in the United States that has successfully experimented with lower blood alcohol concentration levels.

Utah happens to be the only state in the country that has a blood alcohol concentration limit of .05 %. In 2019, that state lowered the blood alcohol concentration limit to.05 % from the previous .08%. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its estimate found that as a result, the number of fatal accidents dropped by 19.8% in that state.  There was a significant drop of 18.3% in the fatality rate. In 2019, the state recorded 225 fatal accidents in spite of an increase in the vehicle miles travelled compared to the previous year. That was a drop from the 259 fatal accidents that had been recorded in 2016.

Estimates found that the incidence of drunk driving actually dropped when the laws reduced the maximum blood alcohol concentration limit. There had been concerns that there would be an increase in the number of DUI arrests after the reduction of blood alcohol concentration limits.  The data indicates that this did not happen at all.  In fact, the number of people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol actually dropped in 2019, after the new law went into effect.

There are lessons in all of this for other states, including Georgia, that could do a lot more to reduce the risk of driving under the influence on our roads.  Drunk driving continues to remain a major killer on Atlanta roads, and its influence has increased since 2020.  There has been an increase in the number of people driving rashly under the influence of alcohol and drugs since the last two years.   A reduction in the blood alcohol limit could help reduce the number of drunk driving accidents on Georgia roads.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident, talk to an Atlanta car accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages. You might qualify for a claim that helps you recover damages for medical expenses incurred as a result of these injuries, lost income, potential lost earning capacity in the future and other forms of damages. Talk to a lawyer at our firm and discuss your case.

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