The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has voted to recommend that all states lower the acceptable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level for drunken drivers.
As you probably know, the current upper BAC limit in all states is 0.08%. The NTSB wants the new limit for drivers to be 0.05%, which a director of the American Beverage Institute believes would criminalize "perfectly responsible behavior," reports NBC News.
Los Angeles residents may feel the sting of this lower limit with future California DUI laws.
Effect in California?
Although the NTSB is an independent federal agency tasked with issuing safety recommendations for our roads, it may be years before California takes this recommendation and turns it into law.
The current BAC to be considered intoxicated in California is still 0.08% for adults and 0.02% for underage drivers.
'Per Se' Limits
All states, including California, have "per se" DUI laws which make it illegal to be operating a vehicle with a BAC of a certain amount or more (currently 0.08%).
California's law also includes a per se limit for commercial drivers, which makes it illegal to drive a commercial truck with a BAC of 0.04% or more.
Under the Influence, Under the Limit
Despite what the per se limit for intoxication might be, you may still be found guilty of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs even if your BAC is less than 0.08% or 0.05%.
A California law enforcement officer may still determine you are intoxicated based on your vehicle's movements and your performance on a field sobriety test.
A charge for intoxicated driving with a BAC under 0.08% is colloquially referred to as a wet reckless, and it still carries serious penalties.