In 2009, the North Carolina Department of Transportation reported that drunk drivers were responsible for a third of North Carolina's fatalities on the roads. This is not that surprising since drunk driving continues to be a public concern, despite efforts on the part of lawmakers, non-profit organizations and law enforcement agencies to educate the public to the dangers of drinking and driving.
National agency recommends lower BAC
In an effort to curb the number of car accidents caused by drunk drivers, the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all states, including North Carolina, lower their blood alcohol content level to 0.05. All states currently have a BAC limit of 0.08 for their drivers, but the NTSB argues that many people show signs of diminished visual function at 0.05 and some drivers are impaired by the time their BAC reaches 0.07.
The recommendation is in line with many countries around the world that have established their BAC level at 0.05. However, some have already voiced their disapproval, pointing out that many people disregard the 0.08 law already and that such a change would be unfair to people who obey the current law.
North Carolina's reaction
A recent opinion piece in the Mt. Airy News praised the recommendation from the NTSB. The opinion piece also released newer statistics about drunk drivers in North Carolina. These statistics included:
- 1,227 crashes in 2011 were connected to alcohol.
- In 70 percent of alcohol crashes, the driver was within the legal limit but still impaired.
- 366 people were killed in North Carolina in drunk-driving crashes.
The opinion pointed out that while not everyone is likely to adhere to a lower BAC, others will and that would make the state's roads a little safer.
A North Carolina trooper believes that lowering the BAC would produce more convictions in the courts, according to NBC Charlotte. The trooper stated that anything under 0.08 is automatically dismissed, even if the person is impaired.
The effects of drunk driving
When a drunk-driving accident happens, the victims can suffer severe injuries that impact their entire lives. Some victims are permanently disabled, others may struggle for months to recover from their injuries and many face challenges that affect their quality of life. In addition to the physical challenges, medical care is expensive and can easily build up to tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the victim's condition.
The truth is that drunk driving does not just affect the lives of those involved. It also affects the lives of family and friends, especially when they lose a loved one. If you have been injured as the result of someone who was drinking and driving, t hen you should examine your legal options by meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney.