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Study moves for lowering the legal limit for DUI

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Texas has a number of relatively strict laws regarding certain crimes in the state, including drinking and driving. Yet, on May 12 a federal safety board recommended that states should lower the standard blood alcohol content limit from 0.1 or .08 to .05. Over 100 other countries utilize the .05 alcohol content limit and have seen dramatically reduced fatalities from drunk driving incidents as a result. In fact, some countries even saw a 50 percent decrease in incidences over a 10-year span.

The .05 limit would mean a woman who weighs under 120 pounds would be limited to one glass of wine before driving. A 160-pound man could have two drinks before the risk of exceeding the .05 limit comes into play. The law thus could have a substantial impact on any individual's drinking behavior. Texas currently holds the legal limit at .08.

While Texas has not been promoting a reduction in blood alcohol content, because the federal safety board is the state could be impacted. In a long line of Supreme Court cases, the federal government is not allowed to force states to implement drunk driving laws. Yet, because highways are federally funded, the government can threaten to reduce or eliminate highway funding in the state if it does not comply with certain preferences, such as drinking and driving standards.

Stricter driving laws could result in increased stops, fines and jail time. It is important to be aware of the current laws in place in order to avoid criminal charges.

Source: Armarillo Globe News, "Should Texas lower its drunk driving threshold?," May 14, 2013

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