Feds to Push .05 BAC Limit in DWI-DUI Cases

New Hampshire DWI Laws.  The National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") issued a fiat today announcing that they will "recommend" to all 50 state that they reduce the "legal limit", legally known as the "per se limit", in DWI prosecutions.  A recommendation from these folks means it will morph into an order an a way of life.  The next step will be for the Department of Transportation to endorse it.  Then legislatures will applaud and ratify it.  Then cops will start to arrest more people who aren't any where close to be being intoxicated.

So why did they do it?  A "study" accompanied today's recommendation/decree.  As usual, a close look at the numbers should furrow your brow.  The study is attached here as a pdf file:


The number of fatal accidents and alcohol related fatalities have dropped sharply in the period the group studied (1982 to the present).  The study attributes this entirely to public and private awareness and legislative actions to punish drunk drivers (p. vi).  The study does not consider, for example, the invention and implementation of air bags, shoulder harness seat belts, the development of better brakes, better tires, shatter resistant windshields else or anything else over the past 30 years, except the government's efforts to combat accidents or fatalities.

In any event, the numbers have decreased dramatically.  The NTSB study claims that one third of fatal accidents involve drunk drivers, and this is the primary focus for their edict to lower the BAC in DWI cases from .08 to .05.  So how do they know that a third of fatal accidents involve drunk drivers?  You might think that they have blood alcohol tests to support their numbers.  You'd be wrong.

There were 32, 467 highway fatalities in 2011 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System ("FARS").  FARS "estimates" that 9,878 of these were alcohol impaired driving fatalities, or 31% of all fatalities, which this study rounds up neatly to "one third".  However, as this study concedes, 39 per cent of all drivers in these accidents were not tested for BAC at all and the BAC value was missing from another 10 per cent of the accidents.  So on this 31%/one third government guess, there were no BAC data available to the researches for 49% of the drivers (p. 2, FN 2, 3).

In the paper's abstract, there is a world map that shows Europe and parts of South America having per se BAC limits of .05.  Do you care what rights drivers in Paris or Denmark have?  Should we copy Europe's laws?  The Constitution was written so that we wouldn't have to.  In any event, here it comes.

The .05 DWI limit is lurking around the corner.  A .05 BAC isn't close to drunk for most people.  As always, decide carefully whether to submit to breath or blood testing if you are arrested in New Hampshire or Massachusetts.

Have a safe night.

Call for free case consultations 24/7 : Attorney Mark Stevens 1-603-893-0074