Looking at the Frequency of U.S. DUI Offenses

Posted by Steven Eversole | Sep 01, 2015 | 0 Comments

We see many campaigns designed to curb drunk driving. These are often associated with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The advocacy group has been lobbying across the country for tougher drunk driving penalties and a reduced legal limit for alcohol consumption for drivers.

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It was MADD that initially pushed the national limit of 0.08 grams of ethanol (drinking alcohol) per hundred milliliters of blood. They way they did this was to get Congress to connect highway funding to a state's decision to lower its respective legal limits to 0.08. This was also how MADD was able to get Congress to push for a national standard drinking age of 21, when it was previously 18 or even lower in some places.

As our Birmingham DUI defense attorneys can explain, Congress technically does not have the power to make a national drinking age because that was a matter reserved for individual states by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, the Supreme Court has decided that, while Congress cannot force a state to make a law that effects only people within that state, Congress does have the power to decide how it spends taxpayer money. This means Congress can decide not to spend money on highway projects, if a state does not do what it wants with respect to a certain law. This was how they were able to get a national drinking age and a national legal limit in DUI cases.

MADD also works with federal agencies and tried to get these agencies to conduct research to support changing the national drinking age to a much lower limit of 0.05 grams of ethanol per hundred milliliters of blood. It should be noted that there is a general presumption of sobriety when a blood alcohol content (BAC) is below 0.05, so that should show how low this proposed standard really is.

According to a recent news feature from ABC 7, the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released study data showing that an estimated 121 million drunk driving “episodes” occur each year in the United States. It should be noted that an episode of drunk driving does not mean someone was actually arrested on charges of drunk driving. It was a study based upon administering surveys to people across the nation.

The CDC says its researchers conducted studies that included a representative sample of adults from all 50 states. The agency surveyed millions of people, and found 4.2 million drivers admitted to driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor at least one time in the last month. There were approximately 4,000 study participants who admitted to driving drunk every day of the month. As part of its research, the CDC is also pushing for a lower national blood alcohol content (BAC) law, higher taxes on alcohol and more funding for field sobriety checkpoints across the county.

Additional Resources:
121 MILLION DRUNK DRIVING EPISODES OCCUR EVERY YEAR IN THE US, CDC SAYS , August 9, 2015, August 8, 2015, ABC 7
More Blog Entries:
Driving Without a License After DUI–Risks and Consequences, Jan. 15, 2014, Birmingham Underage DUI Defense Lawyer Blog

About the Author

Steven Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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