Over the last few years the state of Washington has focused on creating laws to discourage drivers from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD reports that there are close to 20,000 people in the state who are three-time DUI offenders and 2,103 people that are five-time offenders. Recent statistics show that 156 people have died in drunk-driving related car accidents, showing that when a person in Spokane County drinks and drives, it is often another person who pays the price. It is unknown how many people have been injured.
Washington behind lower blood limit recommendation
In May, the National Transportation Safety Board made the suggestion that all states should lower their blood alcohol content to 0.05 and Washington lawmakers are reportedly in support of following that recommendation according to King 5. While no legislation will be presented this year, there is a possibility that a bill could be introduced next year. Even Gov. Jay Inslee appears to be supportive of such a move. Currently the legal limit in Washington is 0.08.
The NTSB says that if the BAC limit was lowered nationwide hundreds of lives could be saved according to NBC News. It is also likely that thousands of people would be spared serious injury with fewer people driving on roads with alcohol in their system. Research shows that people with a BAC level of 0.05 have shown signs of being impaired and Australia reported a clear reduction in the number of fatalities related to alcohol crashes after lowering its BAC to 0.05.
Will there be opposition?
It is unclear whether a bill proposing a new BAC will receive opposition in the state of Washington itself. While the American Beverage Institute has come out publicly against the recommendation of the NTSB, no restaurant or beverage organizations in the state has voiced intent to fight such legislation.
The ABI points out that lowering the BAC will not have any effect on those who drive with higher levels of alcohol and while that may be true, it could influence some of the four million people in America who admit to drinking and driving to stop the behavior and thus reduce the risk of serious injury or death to innocent drivers and passengers.
Legal options for victims
Passing a law to lower the BAC would certainly give victims of car accidents more legal options since some accidents are caused by people who are just under the 0.08 limit and therefore are unable to be charged criminally. Seeking compensation in a civil court of law can help victims with the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Vehicle repairs/replacement
- Future medical care
- Pain and suffering
Often, alcohol-related accidents leave victims struggling with permanent disability, months of rehabilitation and unexpected financial challenges. If you are the victim of a drunk driver, you should discuss your case with an experienced attorney to find out how to hold that driver financially accountable in a court of law.