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Law changes may reduce drunk driving accident prevalence in NC

A national watchdog organization has suggested sweeping changes to drunk driving laws in all states, according to a recent report. Here in North Carolina, a drunk driving accident is a sadly common occurrence, with 1,227 in 2011 alone. The National Transportation Safety Board is suggesting that a change in the legal limit may help to curb this trend and lower the frequency of DWI-related wrecks both on the state and national level.

Currently, the national legal limit for an adult operating a motor vehicle is a .08 blood alcohol level (BAC). The NTSB has proposed a nationwide drop in that limit, down to .05 percent. It says this will help to keep drivers more clear-headed on the road and lessen the number of drunk driving accidents throughout the year. Opponents of this move argue that it would require a shift in thinking since the legal limit has endured for a decade, and would move to punish previously legal behavior rather than targeting repeat offenders with consistently high BAC.

Another proposed move would be to require those convicted of DWI to install a so-called Breathalyzer interlock system in their vehicles. Such a device would require them to blow into a tube similar to those used in roadside sobriety tests before being allowed to start the vehicle. It is hoped that such measures will work to prevent drivers from making questionable decisions and reconsider their fitness to operate a vehicle before deciding to drive while intoxicated.

Drinking and driving is typically a bad decision. Clearly, drivers must be accountable and responsible when operating a vehicle. Any attempt on the part of the North Carolina government to mitigate the damage done by a drunk driving accident can be taken as a positive step in the right direction. In particular, changing the law to be more stringent in these cases may be of assistance to those injured in a DWI-related accident in seeking financial reimbursement by way of a personal injury suit.

Source: Mount Airy News, "Tougher alcohol and driving regulations should be passed," May 22, 2013

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