Despite the efforts of government and non-profit organizations, drunk driving still poses a serious problem to people in Cook County. While there are many options out there for people who have had too much to drink these options are often disregarded, raising the risk of a potential tragedy that affects innocent people.
Just recently, a man was sentenced to serve 10 years behind prison bars for a fatal car accident he caused while under the influence of alcohol. According to the Chicago Tribune, the man had dismissed an offer from his company to pay for cab fare before he left a sports bar in Itasca. His alcohol content was measured at 0.19 after he crashed into an Illinois state trooper's vehicle, injuring the officer and killing a man who was sitting in the car.
Recommendation for lower limit
Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board made the recommendation that states lower their legal limit from 0.08 to 0.05, according to U.S. News. The NTSB pointed out the following:
- 10,000 people a year die in accidents related to alcohol.
- Studies reveal that drivers show signs of impairment with an alcohol level of 0.05.
- 4 million people admitted in studies that they drive after drinking.
- Many European and South American countries have already lowered their blood alcohol content to 0.05.
- People with a BAC of 0.05 have an increased 39 percent risk of causing a drunk driving accident.
- Australia reported decreases in fatalities related to alcohol after lowering its BAC to 0.05.
If states lower their BAC, the NTSB believes that up to 1,000 lives could be saved. However the American Beverage Institute is calling the recommendation "ludicrous". The managing director says that lowering the legal limit would not deter people with high levels of alcohol from driving.
Illinois lawmakers agree with opposition
Illinois state Rep. John D'Amico, D-Chicago, is the chairman of the Vehicles and Safety Committee and agrees with the opposition, pointing out that limiting people's alcohol consumption to a single drink would go too far. According to the Chicago Tribune, so far, no lawmakers have introduced legislation following the NTSB recommendation and it appears that even the strongest advocates in the state are staying silent on the topic.
In the past several years, Illinois has passed laws that go after drunk drivers. Currently the state requires the use of an ignition interlock on first-time offenders and new legislation is being prepared that will expand the use of these devices. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, over 38,000 people were arrested for drunk driving in the state during 2011 and there were 278 people killed in accidents involving alcohol.
When people are injured in a car accident involving alcohol, they should contact an attorney immediately to learn what their rights are in seeking compensation.