New Jersey was the first state to outlaw drunk driving, with a bill passed and enacted in 1906. Arrests were based on police observations, leading to a $500 fine and a maximum jail sentence of 60 days.
Over time, the initial law of the land with most states was .15 BAC (blood alcohol content). That metric eventually dropped to .08 BAC after intense lobbying from high-profile advocacy groups that included Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
Utah remains the outlier with a limit of .05
Dangers below .08 BAC
Fast forward to today, the number of fatalities nationally is around 10,000 annually. The average over one decade (2010 – 2020) was approximately 10,500. Many of those accidents likely involved drivers who drank, but not enough to get to the current standard for what defines a drunk driver.
Overall, one-third of all road fatalities nationwide were the result of drunk drivers traveling with more than the legal limit of alcohol in their system
Alcohol affects everyone differently. Some have a high tolerance for spirits, while others find themselves inebriated after one drink. Impairment can occur that is below the nationwide number that defines DUI. Referred to as “buzzed driving,” it can be equally dangerous and deadly.
The latest data from 2020 revealed that more than 2,000 people died in drunk driving accidents where the “drunk drivers” had BACs ranging from .01 to .07.
In one split second, a motor vehicle accident can change and end lives. Drunk driving is perhaps the highest level of negligence on the roads throughout New Jersey and the United States. Holding the negligent driver accountable may require the help of a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney.