The holiday season can be a dangerous time to be on the roads. New Year’s Eve is considered by many to be one of the most dangerous nights of the year to drive and is known in some places as ‘amateur night.’ This is because so many people partake of alcohol in higher amounts than they are accustomed to and may not be aware of how the additional alcohol impairs the ability to drive. This could result in a drunk driving accident. Another state is taking a step it hopes will change the trend, and the result could have implications for other states — including New Jersey.
In order to determine if a driver is intoxicated, a Breathalyzer test can be administered that measures the individual’s blood alcohol content. The current acceptable level in most states is below .08 for non-commercial drivers 21 or older. A BAC of .08 or higher will result in a DUI charge. One state has now passed a law lowering that level by 40 percent, to .05. The law took effect on Dec. 30, 2018.
Under the new BAC levels in Utah, a man who weighs 160 pounds and has two drinks in one hour would be considered legally drunk, and for a 100-pound woman, one drink would have the same result. Utah hopes that this change reduces the number of deaths that are caused by drunk drivers every year, and that the change will be adopted by other states. While the number of traffic fatalities attributed to alcohol-related incidents has decreased, there are still an average of about 29 fatalities per day, nationwide, that are considered alcohol-related. This is according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Regardless of changes to existing laws, the chance of a drunk driving accident will never completely disappear. The loss of a loved one due to a preventable tragedy is a nightmare scenario, made worse if it occurs during the holidays. In such a situation people may not be thinking of legal options, but a civil lawsuit in New Jersey against a party deemed responsible can provide compensation for medical costs, final costs and other verifiable losses.