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Massachusetts Lawmakers Fight Lower BAC Limits

Lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers could be the key in the fight to save lives. But the proposal is getting some mixed reactions from lawmakers in Massachusetts.
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According to Wicked Local, officials with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently recommended dropping the legal blood-alcohol level for drivers from .08 to .05. This was done in a broader effort to try to put an end to drunk driving. Each year, the number of highway fatalities involving intoxicated drivers has remained stubbornly steady since the 90s.

“Is it going to be a cultural shift? Yes, but we’re talking about saving lives,” said Rick Smith, Wakefield Police Chief.

Our Quincy drunk driving accident lawyers understand that this is a trend that’s already taken place overseas — like in Ireland — and the accidents resulting from drunk driving have dropped significantly.

Bob Dietz, a Malden Police Lt., says that earmarking the funds generated from drunk driving and its penalties would be a start in helping to increase the enforcement of drunk driving laws. As it stands now, law enforcement has little to work with when combating these crimes.

Massachusetts first adopted the .08 blood-alcohol limit back in 2003. That’s a limit that’s now used by all states for all drivers 21 and over. Unfortunately, these kinds of accidents continue to take the lives of thousands each and every year. As a matter of fact, the United States witnessed close to 10,000 traffic accident fatalities as a resulting of accidents involving intoxicated drivers in 2011. These kinds of fatalities accounted for close to a third of all of the traffic accident deaths throughout the year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly 150 people who were killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2011. These fatalities accounted for close to 40 percent of all of the traffic accident fatalities the state witnessed that year.

As is stands now, drivers who are charged with a drunk driving offense for the first time will face up to 30 months in jail, up to a $5,000 fine, a $250 assessment, a one year driver’s license suspension and will have to complete a court assigned treatment program. Massachusetts also has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Unfortunately, these consequences don’t seem to be enough to get drivers to stay sober behind the wheel.

Knowing the penalties of a drunk driving charge and the possible consequences involved in an accident should be enough of a deterrent. But unfortunately, drivers continue to put their lives, and the lives of other innocent motorists at risk.

If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Intoxicated Pedestrian Fatalities Rising Nationwide, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, August 14, 2013

Designated Driver Blamed for Drunk Driving Accident in Norfolk, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, August 12, 2013