Tennessee lawmaker wants to lower DUI level

Drunk driving laws may change next year in Tennessee. A state lawmaker says that he will be sponsoring legislation to reduce the legal standard for drunk driving in Tennessee to .05 blood alcohol content, down from the current .08 standard.

The lawmaker is sponsoring the legislation in an effort to reduce drunk driving car accidents after the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all states should lower the drunk driving threshold to .05. The NTSB said that over 100 other countries have already adopted the lower standard but not states in the U.S. have lowered theirs.

The state lawmaker said that he wants Tennessee to be one of the first states to lower their drunk driving threshold to show that they are trying to crackdown on drunk driving and prevent serious and fatal car wrecks caused by drunk drivers.

In 2012, 246 fatalities were reported in Tennessee that were caused by an alcohol-impaired driver. While any death caused by drunk driving is tragic, state officials say that fatal car accidents caused by alcohol-impaired drivers declined by almost 32 percent during 2007 to 2011. During that same time, DUI arrests increased by 25 percent in the state.

Supporters of lowering the drunk driving threshold in Tennessee say that it will keep the roads safer by preventing keeping drunk drivers off the road. If people know that they could be arrested for a lower blood alcohol content, they will not drink as much or they will make sure to use a designated driver.

However, not everyone supports changing the state's drunk driving laws. Opponents of lowering the threshold say that it will only lead to more arrests but it would not do anything to keep dangerous, repeat DUI offenders off the road.

Source: Know News, "Rep. Faison says he'll push for lowering DUI level to 0.05," Tom Humphrey, May 15, 2013

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