Everyone knows that you should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of accidental death and serious injury every year in the United States. But what constitutes being drunk? Legally, if a driver is found with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or over, he or she is considered to be driving drunk and can be arrested. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even a BAC of .02 can affect your driving and cause loss of judgment and difficulty multi-tasking resulting in a car accident.
The possibility of dangerous driving even with low levels of alcohol in one’s system is perhaps why the National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended a lower BAC for prosecution of drunk driving. The NTSB proposed dropping the level from .08 to .05, a level at which studies show people begin to lose their visual concentration and depth perception.
Awareness and stricter legal enforcement have caused the number of alcohol-related car accidents to decrease in the past 30 years, but an unsettling 4 million people still admit yearly to driving while impaired. The NTSB is pushing for a decrease in the legal BAC level in the hopes of cutting down the numbers of drunk driving accidents. There is statistical support for this proposed change. The number of fatal car accidents in Australia dropped by 5-18% when Australia moved from a BAC level of .08 to .05. Most countries in Europe and South America already have a legal BAC level of .05.
Reducing Drunk Driving Accidents with the Current Laws
Unfortunately, the NTSB is not a legal body. It is overseen by the Department of Transportation and can only advise individual states on issues and legal matters. It took a total 21 years for all states to change from a legal BAC level .10 to .08 during the last period of change. However, it is still possible to lower the number of alcohol-related car accidents with the current standards at every level, from state governments to the individual driver.
States should continue strict enforcement of drunk driving laws and seat belt laws to increase safety and prevent injury. Many states are beginning to implement sobriety checkpoints and strategies to such as raising alcohol taxes to prevent binge drinking, which is strongly linked with drunk driving. Employers can establish policies that will limit or take away all work-related driving privileges if a person is charged with drunk driving on the job. They can also work together with the government and health professionals to create programs for employees and their families that raise awareness about the dangers of driving drunk. Routine screening of patients for risky drinking behavior and intervention and counseling for those who screen positive can also help prevent drunk driving.
Finally, at the most basic level, the best way to cut down on drunk driving is to simply choose not to drive while intoxicated. Every person can do their part in avoiding overdrinking and/or getting behind the wheel if he/she is not fully functional as well as helping others avoid the same. Even before a person starts drinking, he/she can select a designated driver or plan to have a nondrinking friend pick him/her up or call a taxi.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates Fight for Victims of Drunk Driving
If you or someone you love has been a victim of a car accident caused by drunk driving, you may have the right to seek compensation. The Philly car accident lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates will review your case and put together a solid legal strategy to protect your rights and pursue the maximum recovery for your injuries. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience to identify all the negligent parties to be held accountable for your injuries or the wrongful death of your loved one. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Voorhees, New Jersey. Call the car accident law firm of Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates today at 215-567-6600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our auto accident lawyers.