Science Panel Backs Call For Lower BAC Limits Across The US!

The National Transportation Safety Board says the way to reduce the number of drunk driving fatalities is to reduce the BAC limit from .08 to .05.


If you follow The Kronzek Firm’s blog here on, then you’ll remember our two-part article a little while ago addressing the issue of lowered BAC limits as a possible solution to drunk driving fatalities. As we discussed there, over 10,000 people die every year in alcohol related car crashes, and this number accounts for almost one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.


Did the proposed solution include reducing the BAC limit?


According to the National Transportation Safety Board the best way to reduce the number of people who die in drunk driving crashes is to reduce the BAC limit from .08 to .05. Michigan’s limit is .08, which is pretty standard. This is a rather radical approach, and one that’s had a lot of push back from industries all over the country. However, a recent prestigious scientific panel took on the job of determining if a lowered BAC would really help the issue and despite public opinion, their answer is yes!


A panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine was commissioned by the US Government to determine what could be done to reduce the “entirely preventable” 10,000 alcohol-impaired driving deaths in the United States each year. Their answer: lots! And one of those solutions just happens to include lowering the legal driving limit in every state in the US, including right here in Michigan!


The 489 page report made several recommendations.


In addition to reducing the BAC limit from .08 to .05, the panel also recommended:

  • Vastly increasing sales tax on alcohol
  • Making alcohol less conveniently available to the public
  • Putting limits on alcohol marketing
  • Cracking down on sales to underaged drinkers
  • Discouraging sales to people who are already intoxicated
  • Funding anti-alcohol campaigns


According to the research, doubling the alcohol tax could lead to an 11 percent reduction in traffic crash deaths. Another suggestion was to make it harder for people to access alcohol, which included limiting the number of hours when alcohol could be legally sold, and the number of places where it could be purchased.


This news is unlikely to be well received!


While people who enjoy a few drinks with friends wouldn’t welcome these legal changes, the restaurant and alcohol industries will fight tooth and nail to resist the change at all costs. In a statement published in response to the panel’s findings, the Distilled Spirits Council countered by saying that the suggestions would “do nothing to deter” repeat offenders and high BAC drivers. Also, the Council argued that they refused to support the “tax increases and advertising bans, which will have little or no impact on traffic safety.”


Is Michigan headed for a .05 BAC?


In truth, we can’t answer that. Why? Because we can’t tell the future, despite our best attempts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has certainly proposed the idea, saying that we could cut our drunk driving deaths in half if we slashed the BAC from .08 to .05. But is it going to happen? Maybe. It’s already happened in Utah, and a couple of other states are already considering legislation. But as of now, it’s not on the table for Michigan.


Either way, whatever the legal limit ends up being in Michigan, there are going to be people who have one (or two) too many, misjudge their own abilities, and need help to deal with the legal fallout. That’s where we come in. Our experienced drunk driving attorneys have spent decades helping people in Mid-Michigan with their DUI troubles. We can help you too. Call us at 866 766 5245, and discuss your case with a highly respected DUI defense attorney today.


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