If you drive after drinking and your blood alcohol content (BAC) level reaches or surpasses 0.08 percent, you can be charged with DUI in Orange County, and you’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer immediately. However, the 0.08 percent limit may be changing in the near future. The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal agency, is reviving its proposal to lower the legal BAC level for drivers across the U.S. from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. The safety board’s latest report, titled “Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving,” was released in May. The report insists that the United States has long lagged behind most other countries, which impose BAC limits of 0.05 percent or even lower.
Drunken driving raised few concerns in the middle of the 20th century. For years after the repeal of Prohibition, many Americans welcomed alcohol and were glad simply to enjoy a drink without breaking the law. Except for incidents that ended with injuries or property damage, prosecutions for drunk driving weren’t that common. However, by the late 1950s, cars were everywhere and a high-speed interstate highway system was connecting the nation. Attitudes began changing quickly after a 1968 Department of Transportation report that 25,000 people a year were dying in alcohol-related accidents, representing nearly half of all traffic fatalities.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded in 1980. It attracted thousands of people who had lost loved ones in DUI-related fatal accidents, and drunk driving has been a major public safety concern ever since. States passed over 700 new anti-drunk driving laws from 1981 to 1986 alone, tightening loopholes and making penalties more severe. By 2004, all fifty states had lowered their legal blood alcohol content level to the current 0.08 percent. Annual alcohol-related deaths dropped from 25,000 in 1968 to about 10,000 in 2011.
The National Transportation Safety Board is also calling for the universal use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) and increased use of sobriety checkpoints by local police agencies. Many are predicting that in another ten or fifteen years, “blowing” into an IID to start your car will become as routine as buckling up and adjusting your mirror. For now, if you’re accused of DUI or any related charge in Orange County, fight the charge and take your case at once to an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer.