Every year for the last three years, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that states lower the legal limit for drinking and driving. The current limit, .08., is widely known and accepted as a safe blood alcohol level. But despite its acceptance, the federal government continues to advocate for even lower levels.

Everyone processes alcohol differently. So when two drinks may put one person over the legal limit of .08, it may take three for someone else. Many factors go into how many drinks create a particular blood alcohol content. How large a person is can be a factor, as well as whether that person has recently eaten and if so, what? But if this particular agency had its way, then no one could take a risk of drinking more than one drink and then drive.

The BAC level the federal agency wants states to adopt is .05. It is not clear whether states will be incentivized to adopt this level, but the federal government continually ties many funds to whether states adopt certain standards. In fact, the federal government in 2000 mandated that states adopt a .08 BAC or lose highway construction money.

Where Did Current BAC Standards Come From?

Our country’s drinking and driving laws have a long and interesting history. There were no such laws prior to the advent of cars, so once cars and drivers became a nationwide institution, states decided to act to prevent drinking and driving. New York was the first state to pass and enforce drinking and driving laws in 1910. Since then, every state in the nation has laws prohibiting drinking and driving.

Originally, the BAC considered to impair driving was 0.15% in 1938. During those times, drinking and driving was discouraged, but there was not the national awareness that the issue attracts today. In 1980, MADD was created and organized with one goal, to stop drinking and driving. The organization, in consort with federal and state governments, ran a very public and effective campaign aimed at raising public awareness to condemn the act of drinking and driving.

The campaign worked, and by 2004, every state government had adopted a BAC of .08. Known as the “legal limit,” it is impossible to go very long without hearing news reports about drivers arrested for DWI at twice the legal limit, or some similar reference to BAC.

Effective Defense of DWI

Essentially, every time a defendant tries to defend an accusation of DWI, he faces decades of public information campaigns by governments and organizations at the outset. As soon as a police officer and prosecutor present their case in court, in front of a jury, the defendant faces an uphill battle. That is why it is so important to hire a DWI defense attorney who knows what a DWI defendant faces going into trial, plea bargaining, or motion hearings. At the Wilder DWI Defense Firm, we focus our practice on fighting the uphill battle that every DWI defendant faces. Contact us if you are charged with DWI, and we will give you a free case evaluation.