Alcohol-related car accidents claim the lives of more than 10,000 people in the U.S. annually. A new report by a panel from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine offers recommendations for preventing more drunk driving fatalities, including lowering the blood alcohol content threshold nationwide. Alcohol impaired driving accidents are responsible for 28 percent of all traffic deaths in America.
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in the U.S. is 0.08 percent. A driver whose BAC measures this amount or higher is considered legally impaired. According to the panel from the National Academies, lowering the BAC limit to 0.05 percent and making alcohol less accessible would effectively reduce drunk driving deaths. They also recommended a significant increase in taxes on alcohol, estimating that doubling alcohol taxes could reduce traffic crash fatalities by 11 percent.
The state of Utah has moved to reduce their legal BAC limit to the recommended 0.05 percent effective December 30th. Alcohol and restaurant industry groups there oppose the new law. They note that many factors, including height and weight, influence an individual’s ability to process alcohol. According to the American Beverage Institute, after two beers, a 150-pound man may have a BAC greater than 0.05 as would a 120-pound woman if she had just one drink.
A statement from the Distilled Spirits Council said that while they support the goals of the report and some of its recommendations, they found the panel focused too narrowly on the problem of alcohol-impaired driving and ignored the rapidly growing issues of drugged driving and distracted driving.
Limiting Access to Alcohol
Doubling the alcohol tax would make it less affordable for some people. The panel suggested that making it harder to buy alcohol would also reduce the number of car accidents involving drunk driving. This could be achieved by limiting the number of days per week and hours per day that alcohol could be sold in bars, restaurants, and stores. This approach recognizes that a drunk driving crash is not an isolated “accident,” but rather a series of events and circumstances with preventable consequences.
The Deadliest and Costliest Danger on the Road
For decades the rate of drunk driving fatalities showed improvement, however, it then leveled off and over the past two years has increased. The report from the National Academies sees a need for a comprehensive and systematic approach to accelerate change and revive attention to this pervasive problem. Drunk driving kills 29 people every day in the U.S. – that is one every 49 minutes. The tragedy of these fatalities is that they are entirely preventable.
Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Represent Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an alcohol-related car accident, contact a dedicated Media car accident lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. We will fight to recover the maximum allowable compensation for your case. Call 610-565-3701 today to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. We have offices conveniently located in Media and West Chester serving clients throughout the greater Philadelphia area, including those in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.