Why lowering the DUI limit can be beneficial

TAMPA – You go to a restaurant and have two beers with dinner. On the drive home, you get pulled over by police.

Your blood alcohol level is 0.05. You get arrested on a DUI charge and spend the night in jail.

Local DUI attorneys said that scenario could happen if a federal proposal is enacted to lower the legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol from 0.08 to 0.05.

“It runs the risk of criminalizing behavior that’s not criminal, like social drinking,” said Anthony Rickman, a lawyer in the Tampa firm of Taracks, Gomez & Rickman.

“Any odor of alcohol will now be probable cause. One of the effects of lowering the legal limit is that it lowers the threshold of an officer arresting you.”

The recommendation for the lower limit comes from the National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal agency tasked by Congress with investigating airline, highway and railroad safety.

The board based its proposal on a study which concluded that “by 0.05 BAC, most drivers experience decline in both cognitive and visual functions, which significantly increases the risk of a serious crash.”

Most countries in South America, Europe and Asia have a legal limit of 0.05, according to the study conducted by the safety board.

Safety advocates say drunk drivers kill 10,000 people a year.

Find out what else they have to say on tbo.com