A few weeks ago the National Transportation Safety Board (or “NTSB”) unanimously voted to recommend to the fifty states that they lower the blood alcohol level sufficient to convict for DUI or DWI to .05%. Most states, including Pennsylvania, now have .08% as the threshold level when a person is considered officially “impaired” for the purposes of DUI prosecution. The NTSB notes that a person shows less impairment and therefore is a safer driver at a .05% that a .08%. Talk about masters of the obvious.
As a PA DUI lawyer, I have seen the DUI laws become more and more strict over the years, with the last move in the law coming in 2003 when the legal limit was lowered from .10% to the current .08%. I represent clients in congested areas like Willow Grove, Ardmore, and West Chester where cars are very often driving close together and, thus, conditions inherently become more dangerous. But this business about lowering the legal limit to .05% is just another stop on the way to the inevitable: zero tolerance for alcohol in the body when operating a motor vehicle. Don’t worry, we’ll get there. While I have personally not done the research, I have been in enough courtrooms and heard enough scientific evidence to tell you that a .05% is NOT a point of impairment for a great many of our citizens. In my mind, this move – if adopted, is merely another step to eliminate any consumption of alcohol prior to driving – period. Then we can debate THAT