NTSB Recommends Changes to State DUI Laws

On May 14, 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a Safety Report called Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-impaired Driving. In the report the NTSB outlines the elements its research indicates are necessary to achieve a meaningful reduction in deaths and injuries caused by alcohol-related driving. These elements include the adoption of stronger DUI/DWI laws, better strategies for enforcing drunk driving laws, innovative adjudication programs for alcohol-related driving offenses and the development of new in-vehicle alcohol detection technologies.

NTSB Recommendations to Virginia and Other States

In the report, the NTSB recommends a number of actions states should take to support the effort to eliminate alcohol-impaired driving. These recommendations include:

  • Lower presumed-impairment blood alcohol content (BAC) level. In Virginia the minimum BAC level at which a driver is presumed to be under the influence is 0.08 for a DUI, 0.15 for an extreme DUI and 0.20 for a super extreme DUI. In its report, the NTSB recommends states lower their minimum BAC level for a DUI from 0.08 to 0.05. If Virginia lowers its DUI BAC as the NTSB has recommended, it is likely the minimum BACs for the extreme DUI and super extreme DUI will be lowered accordingly.
    The NTSB has indicated its intention to ask Congress to authorize incentive grants to states who adopt the lower 0.05 BAC for DWIs/DUIs.
  • Increase visibility in enforcement of drunk driving laws. The NTSB recommends law enforcement step-up the visibility of DUI laws by making passive alcohol-sensing technology part of routine traffic stops, saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints and accident sites.
  • Increase use of ignition interlock devices (IID). Greater use of ignition interlock and other in-vehicle devices to prevent alcohol-impaired driving is also recommended by the NTSB. Specifically, the NTSB is recommending states like Virginia, whose DUI laws include driver's license revocation/suspension for DUI, to add a period of ignition interlock device use before full license reinstatement. In states that do not use driver's license revocation/suspension to penalize drunk drivers, the NTSB recommends adding such a penalty with the proviso that IID use for a period is required before full license reinstatement.
  • The NTSB has indicated its intention to develop and disseminate ignition interlock device best practices to states and offer incentives to encourage state to adopt them.
  • Develop new ways to adjudicate drunk driving cases. The NTSB recommends that each state implement drunk driving courts and programs that have as a specific focus the reduction of recidivism for repeat DUI offenders. It is the NTSB's plan to devise best practices for DUI adjudication and disseminate them to the states.
  • Set specific, measureable targets. The NTSB recommends that each state (1) identify specific targets to meet in order to reduce death and injury from alcohol-related accidents; (2) include those targets in its alcohol-impaired driving elimination plan or highway safety plan; and (3) create a mechanism to regularly assess the effectiveness of and progress towards meeting targets.

Speak to a Virginia Beach DUI Defense Lawyer

Drunk driving is a serious crime with potentially harsh consequences. A person facing charges for drunk driving should take those charges seriously and contact an experienced drunk driving defense attorney as soon as possible.

We offer a free consultation at The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, so call our office today.