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Lowering the legal limit in Illinois could reduce car accidents

Written by Ankin Law Office

A 65-year-old Hebron, Connecticut math teacher was severely injured after an inebriated parent struck him with her car after dropping her son off at school. According to NBC Connecticut, police determined that the driver, a 50-year-old woman, had accidentally driven into a bus-only area after her son exited the vehicle. While backing up her SUV to move to a different area, she allegedly struck the teacher, who died two weeks later. It was determined that the woman had a blood alcohol content of 0.07, just under the legal limit. She was charged with unsafe backing and felony misconduct with a motor vehicle.

Steps toward prevention

Some federal officials believe that a lowering of the legal BAC limit could help prevent these kinds of accidents from occurring in Illinois and around the nation every day. The Chicago Tribune reports that officials from the National Transportation Safety Board have called for the legal BAC limit to be lowered to 0.05, yet no states have heeded their recommendations as of yet. If states began passing legislation to reduce the limit, it would make U.S. policy comparable to over 100 countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world, who have reduced intoxication limits to 0.05 and have since seen a significant drop in vehicular fatalities.

Researching drunkenness

CBS8 reports that the California Highway Patrol recently allowed a San Diego reporter the opportunity to drive on a closed course in an effort to increase awareness of how alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, even at lower, legal levels. To simulate inebriation, the reporter was given fatal vision goggles, which mimicked drunk driving with a 0.07 BAC. The disorienting effects include equilibrium issues and blurred vision. The reporter was unable to navigate any of the courses without hitting multiple traffic cones, failed a parallel parking test, and couldn’t even walk without losing his balance in a field sobriety test.

A recent study by the University of California, San Diego may help explain why the reporter experienced such disorientation despite being below the legal limit. During the study, researchers analyzed data on 570,000 fatal car collisions that occurred from 1994-2011 in the U.S. In addition to BAC measurements, they also identified liability indicators, such as disobeying traffic laws. At the conclusion of the study, researchers determined that under no conditions is it safe for people to drive after having consumed any amount of alcohol.

Hope for those affected

Until states begin lowering legal limits, accidents are likely to continue. Those who have suffered serious injury due to the negligence of an inebriated driver should contact a Chicago personal injury attorney to discuss seeking compensation for their claim.