Texas Legislators: Lower DWI Limit!

Utah first state to take action to make roads safer

Utah just lowered its blood alcohol content limit from .08% to .05% on December 30th — the day before New Years Eve. What a great idea. Obviously, the fewer people who are driving while intoxicated, the safer we will all be.
Utah said it was tired of arresting an average of 29 people a day, or 54,000 people over the last five years, but see people keep drinking and crashing. And that’s in a state that’s 60% Mormon and who are not even allowed to drink any alcohol.

So what should we do in a serious drinking state like Texas?

Texas must also lower DWI limit to .05

We call on the Texas Legislature that began its biennial session Tuesday to join Utah and lower the limit.
Why? Our state’s DWI rate has spiraled out out control. Every year, Texas is first place for the state with the most drunk driving fatalities.

It is only a matter of time before the next drunken driving crash happens. The statistics are, well, sobering. Every 20 minutes, someone will be injured or killed in Texas due to an alcohol-impaired driver.

Each day, 29 people lose their lives in the United States, one every 51 minutes. That added up to about 10,500 people in 2016.

These are shocking statistics.

We need try to stop these preventable crashes from happening in the first place.

Admittedly, this proposal is controversial. Drinking alcohol is part of our DNA in Texas.

And the Texas legislature was almost the very last group of legislators in the country to make texting while driving a crime – and only after watering down the bill so much that it is largely ineffective.

But people could still drink as much as they want. They would just have to call Uber or Lyft or have a designated driver take them home.

National Safety Board wants rate lowered across the  country

The National Transportation Safety Board has been fighting to get a national standard of .05% for years. The NTSB estimates that at least 1,500 lives will be saved each year under the new limit.
A representative from the NTSB said she hoped Utah motivated other states to do the same thing. She pointed to the fact that almost 100 countries in the world already limit their BAC level to .05. Some countries have a zero limit.

Furthermore, commercial truck drivers cannot exceed .04% in the United States. There’s a reason for that: federal law assumes that someone driving such a heavy vehicle is dangerous to other drivers after that level.


It’s time to fix the problem

Scientific research has proven that reducing BAC saves lives. One study found that lowering the limits had these effects:
—  from .10 to .08, a 9.2 percent decline in fatal alcohol-related crashes
—  from .08 to .05, an 11.1 percent decline in fatal alcohol-related crashes

The BAC used to be .10 in Texas. But after a tragic crash 20 years ago on December 19, 1998, that changed. A man with a BAC of .16 plowed into a group of cheerleaders from the town of Brock west of Fort Worth, taking the lives of four teenagers. Their parents helped convince the state legislature to lower the limit to .08 and Texas became the 17th state to do so in 1999.  Guess which state was the first? Utah — in 1983.

And it used to be legal in Texas for a driver to drink and guzzle a beer, but the legislature did away with that right in 1987.

It’s no surprise that the main opposition to this idea comes from the powerful liquor industry. The American Beverage Institute has claimed that in certain cases, even one alcoholic beverage could put someone over the new limit. But that’s not true. According to standard blood testing charts, the average person would have to have consumed five beers, or two-thirds of a wine bottle, in one hour to get to the .05 level.

When a driver’s BAC reaches .08, his chance of being in a wreck have doubled.
Our firm has represented many injured people and the families of deceased drivers after they were hit by drunk drivers and know how horrifying these crashes are. You never think it will happen to you.  We are filing suit against a drunk driver today.
We don’t want anyone to be injured in any car or truck wreck, but especially in one that is so easily preventable. This is the reason we support Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the only group fighting to pass laws that will keep drunk drivers off our streets.
You can assume that lowering the limit will not take place in Texas any time soon, if ever.
But if we want our highways to be safer, this would be a vital step in that direction.

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