A new law is being proposed by the NTSB that would lower the legal limit for drunk driving to 0.05% Blood Alcohol Content. To better understand this change, a brief look at the history of DUI enforcement is inorder.
DUI Law Enforcement before 0.08 limits were introduced.
As long as people have been driving cars, there have been people involved in drunk driving incidents. Before modern scientific enforcement tools like breath-alyzers or blood tests had been developed, enforcement against drunk drivers was rudimentary and not very scientific.
Often police involved in stopping someone on suspicionn of drunk driving would carry out a simple conversation with the driver. Based on very subjective officer opinion of the driver, the police offficer would determine whether the driver was in fact drunk. Police officers who try to figure out whether someone is too drunk to drive based only on officer observations and officer intuition.
Modern Breathalyzers and Blood Tests
In the 1930’s the first medical studies on alcohol absorption into the blood were conducted. From these scientific experiments, it was determined that a person is too impaired to drive a car safely at a pre-determined level. This level was arbitrarily set at 0.10% alcohol by volume of blood. Above this level, it was thought a person would be too impaired to drive a car. Below this level, it was felt the person could safely drive a car.
In the 1970’s deaths caused by accidents from DUI drivers had become a large public concern. A push was made to lower the legal limit from 0.10 to 0.08% blood alcohol level based mostly on political pressure from advocacy groups that sprang into action such as MAAD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving.)
The new push for 0.05% limit for DUI
The new push for DUI laws to be more strict is coming from the NTSB, which takes inputs from various government and scientific bodies.