Changing The Legal Limit From .08 to .05 Won't Keep People From Drinking And Driving Says Former District Attorney

10:37 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- A new proposal from the National Transportation Safety Board recommends all 50 states change the legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit from 0.08 to 0.05.

The Board can't make any laws but they are influential over governmental proceedings. The Board's report says lowering the rate will save 500 to 800 lives a year.

Read here: NTSB: Make DUI Limit .05 Percent Blood-Alcohol Level

WFMY News 2 talked to a former Guilford County District Attorney, Jim Kimel about the recommendations.

Kimel thinks there would be a lot more convictions which could mean fewer trials. More people will plead guilty under the crackdown.

However, it could also mean a lot more people get put in jail, which doesn't always solve the problem anyway.

"Jail will stop people from driving drunk while they're in jail. You and I have seen dozens of cases where people get six, seven, eight, even nine driving while impaired charges because they just don't care. You can't keep them in jail forever and I don't think it's going to stop that part of the population,"explained Kimel.

WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford asked Kimel if stiffer punishments would make a bigger difference. He's not sure they can get much stiffer. The laws have gotten a lot tougher over the years. In some cases there are mandatory jail sentences. The law leaves little room for interpretation to the judge, which means most people don't "get off easy" anymore.

"There's such a flood of DWI folks in the jails and in the prisons, they have to have some release mechanism to free up beds for somebody else," said Kimel.

How Many Drinks Can You Have? Click here: BAC Calculator

Greensboro Police sent this statement about calculating BAC levels:

Many factors influence blood alcohol content: body weight, gender, any pre-existing medical conditions, amount of food the person may have consumed, alcohol content of each drink, -so there is no set number of drinks that will result in a certain BAC.

WFMY News 2

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