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NTSB makes push for lower blood-alcohol limit

Minnesota roads can be a dangerous place to be around this time of year. The frigid temperatures and icy roads can lead to treacherous driving conditions, for even the most careful of drivers.

Adding to this danger are the bad decisions of other drivers on the road. Motorists may drive too fast for the conditions, or they may engage in behaviors that are unsafe no matter what the road conditions may be at a given time, such as drunk driving.

In order to try to reduce the likelihood of a drunk driving accident, the National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that states around the country lower the legal blood-alcohol level that can be maintained by drivers. The current level around the country, including in Minnesota, is at 0.08. However, the NTSB is urging states to lower that limit to 0.05, which it claims would save about 1,000 lives every year.

It remains to be seen whether states will actually make the move to the lower limit. Congress previously mandated that states adopt the 0.08 limit, or they may be at risk of losing highway funding. The current push to lower the limit does not have a similar incentive attached to it as of yet.

No matter what the legal limit for drunk driving, individuals who are involved in car accidents caused by those who have been drinking alcohol should understand their options for legal relief. Even when the other motorist is not legally drunk, the evidence of that person having alcohol in their system may be important in a personal injury action, as it could support a finding that the driver was violating the duty of care, or negligent. This, in turn, can be used to hold the driver responsible for paying compensation to the injured persons.

Source: CBS Sacramento, "Support for lowering legal blood-alcohol level to .05 hard to find outside NTSB," Leigh Martinez, Feb. 2, 2016

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