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Feds propose lowering drunk driving limit to 0.05 percent

In 2012, almost 1,300 people died in alcohol-related traffic deaths in Texas. The state has the unfortunate distinction of leading the nation in this statistic. Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board proposed that states lower the legal blood alcohol limit to 0.05 percent. The current limit in Texas and nationwide is 0.08 percent.

Not everyone thinks it is a good idea. A spokesperson for the Southeast Texas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving thinks changing the law will take too long. He advocates ignition interlock devices in all vehicles, which would require the driver to blow into the device and register a legal blood alcohol level to start the car.

A Texas DUI attorney points out that the majority of DWI deaths and accidents are caused by people who test over 0.10. He argues that lowering the limit to 0.05 will not affect those individuals and will create an unacceptable burden for everyone else.

Drunk driving is a matter of state law, so the federal government cannot pass a law lowering the legal limit for DWI. In the past, the feds have made federal highway funding dependent on whether a state passes a particular law. This is how they were able to get a national legal limit of 0.08 a decade ago.

If the legal limit is lowered, more people will be charged with DWI in Texas. But, those people will still have the right to fight the charges. An experienced DWI defense attorney will still be able to review the arrest record, the blood alcohol testing evidence and the results of field sobriety tests for any inconsistencies. In many cases, this can lead to a reduction or dismissal of the charge or an acquittal by a jury.

Source: KTRH, "Feds Want to Lower Blood Alcohol Content."