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Lowering Legal Level of Intoxication to 0.05 Will Affect Madison and St. Clair County Drivers

Although it's not here yet, in the not to distant future there may be more legally drunk drivers on Madison and St. Clair County roads if the the legal limit is lowerd based on recent studies.

Timothy Brown, senior research associate at the $100 million National Advanced Driving Simulator in Coralville, Iowa, has put hundreds of drunken drivers behind the wheel in a driving simulator after being given a mix of alcohol and juice of choice.

In the research center where he works, the drivers ingest vodka or 151-proof alcohol and get behind the wheel of a
Chevrolet Malibu mounted in a metal pod about the size of a two-car garage.  Then they take a spin in what's considered the world's most sophisticated driving simulator, while Brown and his colleagues gather data.
 

Brown is using that data to better understand the difference in driving abilities of someone who is sober, someone who has had a few drinks, and someone who has had a few more drinks. That work has been made especially timely by a controversial National Transportation Safety Board recommendation to lower the legal limit of intoxication to a blood alcohol
content of 0.05 from 0.08.
 

Research suggests that lowering the legal limit of intoxication to 0.05 could save 500 to 1,000 lives a year. But many safe-driving advocates are conspicuously silent on the issue of whether 0.05 is high enough impairment to merit criminal charges. At the core of concerns about 0.05 is the tricky issue of when alcohol impairment becomes criminally negligent. How does slight alcohol impairment differ from impairment caused by drowsiness, cell phone use, medication, aging or other conditions? Is it reckless to get behind the wheel after two glasses of wine at a dinner party? A large beer at a Blackhawks game? A couple of cocktails at a reception?


That wide variance may contribute to lawmakers' reluctance to embrace 0.05 as the new drunk. No Illinois legislators are pitching bills to lower the legal level of intoxication, said state Rep. John D'Amico, D-Chicago, chairman of the Vehicles and Safety Committee. "You don't want anybody driving drunk, obviously," D'Amico said. "But this would be limiting everybody to one beer. That'd be pretty harsh." He also said the lower level "would have a domino effect." Restaurants, bars and sports stadiums would suffer.


Illinois Secretary of State White, considered a leader in fighting drunken driving, is taking a pass on tinkering with the 0.08 level (adopted in 1997), a spokesman said. White is planning instead to push for legislation that would expand for repeat offenders the use of ignition interlocks — in-car breath testers that prevent the engine from running if alcohol is detected on the driver's breath, the spokesman said.

To get more information after you or a family member has been charged with DUI/DWI or traffic citation call the Giacoletto Law Firm at 618-346-8841 or toll free at 888-346-8841 to speak today with an experienced Madison or St. Clair County criminal attorney centrally located in Collinsville.
 

Source: By Ted Gregory, Chicago Tribune reporter, September 1, 2013