In 1939, the National Safety Council and the American Medical Association created the first commonly determined blood alcohol content (BAC) to determine if a person was under the influence of alcohol. That number was 0.15.
Today, the legal limit in all 50 states is 0.08, as measured by a Breathalyzer or blood test. But that number could go even lower based on research about the impact of alcohol on drivers.
Even driving with a legal BAC level can be dangerous
For five years, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been recommending states lower the legal blood alcohol concentration level from 0.08 to 0.05 or lower. The agency claims research shows that the risk of a fatal crash more than doubles by the time someone reaches the current drunk-driving limit.
The proposed blood-alcohol limit would put a man weighing about 160 pounds over the legal limit at around two drinks, while a smaller woman might exceed the threshold after one drink, according to the American Beverage Institute, a trade organization in the restaurant industry that has opposed the change.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) says a stricter law regarding driving under the influence will save lives.
"Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-repaired vehicle crashes - that's one person every 50 minutes in 2016,'' an NHTSA statement reads. "Drunk-driven fatalities have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year.''
According to the NHTSA, 10,497 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2016, up 1.7 percent from the previous year, and accounting for 28 percent of all car deaths. Drinking and driving at a legal BAC level can still be dangerous. Out of the 10,497 drunk driving traffic fatalities in 2016, approximately 2,017 of them (almost 1 in 5) involved drunk drivers with BAC levels between .01 and .07.
Knowing your rights as a crash victim
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, you need an experienced Lafayette auto accident attorney on your side.