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Why is .08 BAC the Legal Limit?

Why is .08 BAC the Legal Limit?

Today, the United States has established that the national legal limit is .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). But how did our government come up with that number?

During the late 1990s, this limit was still not adopted by all states. There were some states which had a legal driving limit of .10.

Then in 1998, President Bill Clinton enacted new standards to prevent the tragedies associated with driving under the influence, which included promoting the national legal limit of .08 or higher. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was in charge of implementing the president’s directive.

But before the president’s directive in 1998, NHTSA had sponsored several studies on the effectiveness of .08 per se laws. The studies showed that virtually all motorists are impaired at .08 BAC in critical tasks such as steering, braking, changing lanes, judgment, and divided attention, although outward appearances may vary.

The DOT’s 2001 Appropriations Act (HR4475) was passed by both chambers of the U.S. Congress and signed by President Clinton in 2001. The Act provided that states needed to pass a .08 per se law by 2004 or begin losing federal highway construction funds. Thus, by 2004, every state had passed a .08 BAC per se law.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Kansas or Missouri, request a free consultation with our Kansas City criminal defense lawyer at Stein Law, LLC today.

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