Western North Carolina Accident Attorney at The Elmore Law Firm Encourages Lawmakers to Explore Lowering Drunk Driving Threshold

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Government authorities should carefully weigh new NTSB recommendations to lower BAC level to 0.05 percent to reduce car accidents and save lives, personal injury lawyer Bruce A. Elmore Jr. says.

Western NC personal injury lawyer, Asheville car accident lawyer, nursing home neglect, medical malpractice, Buncombe County, attorney

Bruce A. Elmore Jr.

We must do more to prevent these completely preventable injuries and deaths. The NTSB has given lawmakers and all of us a lot to think about when it comes to reducing drunk driving and accidents.

Lawmakers should consider a recent recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to lower the threshold blood alcohol content (BAC) for legal impairment from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, Western North Carolina car accident attorney Bruce A. Elmore Jr. said today.

“The government, at both the state and federal levels, should be doing all it can to keep people safe on our roads. That means preventing people from driving while drunk and having stiff consequences when someone does drink and drive,” said Elmore, founder of The Elmore Law Firm. The firm is based in Asheville and serves clients throughout Western North Carolina.

“The NTSB makes a compelling case that reducing the threshold BAC to 0.05 percent could be an effective tool in deterring drunk driving and reducing accidents caused by alcohol-impaired drivers,” Elmore said.

The NTSB safety report, “Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving,” includes the BAC recommendation in the report’s findings. The NTSB estimates that lowering the threshold could save between 500 and 800 lives each year by reducing the number of impaired driving accidents. In the United States, 9,878 people died in accidents caused by drunk drivers in 2011.

State and federal governments are not required to pass legislation based on NTSB recommendations, but several NTSB proposals have become law, including the reduction of the legal limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent and the increase in the legal drinking age from 18 to 21.

“Information is key. We know that awareness campaigns and stricter laws lower the number of impaired drivers on the road and the accidents those drunk drivers cause,” Elmore said. “But people are still dying and suffering serious injuries here in Western North Carolina because some motorists continue to get behind the wheel even after they’ve had too much to drink. We owe it to the potential victims of drunk drivers to do everything we can to stop impaired driving in the first place.”

Findings in “Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving” indicate that a BAC level of even 0.01 percent can cause driver impairment and that a 0.05 percent BAC is associated with significant impairment.

An article in The Washington Post reported that many other nations already enforce the 0.05 level, including France, Germany, Australia, Italy and Spain. A number of different studies show that the adoption of a 0.05 threshold led to a decline in car accidents, according to the article, including a more than 30 percent reduction in accidents among novice drivers in Austria.

The NTSB report includes several other recommendations aimed at reaching the goal of “zero alcohol-impaired driving crashes, injuries and fatalities.” The recommendations include the more rapid development of in-vehicle alcohol detection technologies such as ignition locks, high-visibility enforcement of drunk driving laws, stiffer penalties for those convicted of drunk driving and DWI courts aimed at changing behavior while also emphasizing offender accountability.

“In 2011, there were more than 11,700 alcohol-related car crashes in North Carolina, with 366 fatalities and nearly 6,000 people injured, according to the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center. In the Asheville area alone, alcohol was a factor in more than 36 percent of fatal car crashes in 2011,” Elmore said. “We must do more to prevent these completely preventable injuries and deaths. The NTSB has given lawmakers and all of us a lot to think about when it comes to reducing drunk driving and accidents.”

One of the most effective ways of deterring drunk driving is to hold impaired drivers responsible for the accidents they cause, regardless of their BAC or whether they are convicted of DUI, Elmore said. He urged victims of drunk drivers to seek help from a qualified car accident firm such as The Elmore Law Firm.

“At our firm we have the experience to assist and advise you if you have been injured by the negligence of an intoxicated driver,” he said.

About The Elmore Law Firm

Since its founding in 1976, The Elmore Law Firm has successfully represented individuals and families suffering serious injuries or wrongful death as a result of the negligence of others in car accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents and railroad accidents, as well as medical malpractice and nursing home negligence / abuse cases. Based in Asheville, the Elmore Law Firm is committed to helping the citizens of Buncombe County and the surrounding communities of Western North Carolina. The firm’s office is located at 53 N. Market St., Suite 100, Asheville, NC 28801 (local phone 828-253-1492). To learn more, contact the firm by calling 888-358-8734 or by filling out its online contact form.

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