Lower BAC Threshold for DUI Charges On High Risk Weekends?

Posted on December 6, 2013 in DUI and Breath Alcohol Tests

The holiday season is a great time to spend with family and friends at parties, dinners, and other festive events. For some, the celebrations also include the imbibing of drinks--beer, wine, hot toddies, and more. Of course, this presents the risk that, when it is time to go home, one may get behind the wheel while under the influence. This is never a smart move, often leading to serious accidents, DUI charges, or both.

Holiday DUIThe prevalence of drinking and driving around certain holidays is well-known. It usually results in law enforcement officers stepping up their enforcement efforts around these times. In fact, some are even proposing changes the laws related to DUIs around certain high-risk holidays in order to further deter drunk driving.

Holiday DUIs

Extra police officers are often assigned to watch certain locations at set times during holidays, including Christmas and New Years. But in addition to ramped up law enforcement presence, a few advocates nationwide made calls in recent months to actually change the DUI threshold under the law to send the message that DUIs will not be tolerated.

For example, one advocate wrote of his push to urge state lawmaker to lower DUIs BAC threshold levels over high-risk weekends like Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and New Years Eve. In most iterations, the proposals call for a .05 percent BAC threshold instead of the usual .08.

Speaking about Independence Day alone, the advocate notes that the most recent statistics from the National Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2010, 392 people were killed in car accidents during the Independence Day holiday, and 39 percent of those fatalities involved a driver or motorcyclist whose blood alcohol content was 0.08 percent. These statistics fail to show how many accidents were caused by drivers or motorcyclists with BACs of 0.07 percent or less, which, according to the author is significant—he wonders whether it matters if a fatality is caused by a "buzzed" driver as opposed to a "drunk" driver.

While there is no indication that lawmakers in Illinois are considered lowering the legal threshold for drunk driving solely during holiday weekends, the National Transportation Safety Board has already made recommendations that states lower the BAC level to 0.05 percent. Much of this recommendation stems from inquiry into the practical difference between being "drunk" and being "buzzed." Alcohol in any amount affects the Central Nervous System, which leads to impaired vision, longer reaction times, and failed muscular coordination.

Even the discussion of lowered BAC levels should act as a reminder to residents in Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, and other suburban communities in Illinois of the serious risks to those facing a DUI conviction.  If you have been charged with violating DUI laws, your best defense is to contact an experienced Illinois DUI attorney as soon as feasible.