New DWI Proposal Hopes To Lower Fatal Crash Rate

In a move that may surprise Florida drivers, the National Transportation Safety Board this week recommended a new national limit on blood alcohol content. Currently, the national limit is 0.08 percent – reduced from 0.10 percent in recent years. The new standard would lower the limit to 0.05.

Since the states are responsible for its own criminal laws, this recommendation is unlikely to become law in the near future. But if the broad campaign to lower the limit to 0.08 is any indication, drivers should expect many states to follow the NTSB’s recommendation in the near future.

Legally, this could have big benefits for the victims of drunk driving car accidents. The law traditionally recognizes a doctrine known as “negligence per se.” Under these rules, a defendant is automatically liable for negligence if he or she violates another public safety-related law. This applies with different nuances in different places – but even if this doctrine does not apply, a drunk driving arrest or conviction would be strong evidence that the driver was at fault and therefore liable for the victim’s injuries.

Source: Washington Times, “Drunk driving blood alcohol limits should be lowered,” Paul Samakow, May 15, 2013