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Even MADD balks at scientists' DWI recommendation

Many regular readers of our Lake Charles legal blog will remember a joke President Ronald Reagan told years ago. "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are," the president said, "'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

His witticism might well apply to a group of scientists commissioned by the federal government. The group recently urged states to lower the drunk driving threshold from .08 percent blood alcohol concentration to .05 percent. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine also recommends increasing taxes on alcohol "significantly" and requiring all DWI/DUI offenders to have ignition interlocks installed.

The scientists pointed out that by doubling alcohol taxes, alcohol sales could be expected to drop by about 11 percent.

However, their BAC proposal has so far had a chilly response. Not even Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports the lowering of the BAC limit to .05 percent, a recent news article pointed out.

While everyone opposes drunk driving, there are many people opposed to making Louisiana's already tough DWI laws even harsher.

If implemented, the scientists' recommendations would mean that most women could have no more than two drinks and most men could have, at most, three. A 120-pound woman would pass a .05 percent BAC after a single drink. A 150-pound man would be considered legally impaired after two beers, the American Beverage Institute says.

In about two years, we will have a good idea of how effective a lowering of the BAC limit can be. That's because Utah has enacted a law lowering their DWI limit to .05 percent. The measure takes effect at the end of this year, so we won't have hard data on its effectiveness for about 24 months or so.

Those arrested for DWI have a number of legal options. To learn more, discuss the circumstances of your case with an attorney experienced in DWI defense.

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