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Would Lowering the Alcohol Limit Decrease Accidents in Louisiana?

When an alcohol-impaired driver is involved in a collision, innocent people can be seriously injured or killed. Multiple government agencies and non-profit organizations have sought to educate people in East Baton Rouge County in hopes of lowering fatalities associated with alcohol, but sadly, many people still choose to drink and drive.

A car accident caused by a drunk driver last year resulted in the deaths of seven people, including four children, according to WAFB. The group was traveling from Clinton back to Baton Rouge when a 30-year-old driver hit their vehicle in a head-on collision. Five of the victims died in the crash; the other two victims died from their injuries sometime later. The driver was found with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15; Louisiana's legal limit is 0.08.

Drunk Driving in Louisiana

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that Louisiana deaths related to drunk driving for the years 2010 and 2011 stayed the same at 266 people. However, when compared to other car accident factors, drunk driving was responsible for 33 percent of accident fatalities in 2011; in 2010 drunk driving caused 31 percent of accident fatalities.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Louisiana has the following laws in place for drunk drivers:

  • Incarceration for drivers over 0.15 BAC
  • Vehicle confiscation
  • Ignition interlock mandatory on all DUI convictions
  • Driver's license suspension
  • Forty-five day hard suspension of driving privileges on second DWI conviction

There is zero tolerance in Louisiana for underage drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. These drivers are allowed to have no more than 0.02 alcohol in their blood and can face strict penalties if caught. Drunk driving enforcement measures have helped reduce car accidents caused by drivers under the influence, and to further reduce accidents, the federal government is advocating that states adopt tougher blood alcohol content standards.

Feds Suggest Lower BAC for States

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board announced that they intend to ask Louisiana and all other states to lower the current BAC reading from 0.08 to 0.05 to further reduce the number of car accidents caused by drunk driving. The NTSB pointed out that at 0.05 drivers have been shown to exhibit problems with visual and cognitive functions. Reducing the BAC across the nation could save lives and has been proven effective in several other countries.

However, Louisiana may be reluctant to adopt the NTSB recommendation, since the state is likely to find opposition from the American Beverage Institute. According to NBC News, the American Beverage Institute argues that lowering the BAC is not likely to stop people from driving under the influence, and that driving with a BAC of 0.05 is "perfectly responsible behavior."

U.S. studies indicate that at least 4 million people drive while intoxicated and NTSB says that 170,000 people are injured every year in alcohol-related accidents.

When someone is the victim of a serious injury because of the actions of a drunk driver, it can affect that victim the rest of their life. They may suffer permanent disfigurement, be unable to walk, or no longer have the ability to provide for themselves and their families. If you are injured in a car accident, it is important to seek out an experienced attorney who can assist you in holding the party at fault financially responsible .

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123 Saint Ferdinand Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

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