The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that intoxicated
drivers are responsible for roughly one-third of all traffic fatalities
in the United States. In 2014, the CDC published a
sobering report regarding the rising number of alcohol-related collisions in California.
Their research confirmed that intoxicated motorists were responsible for
over 10,000 fatalities in the years spanning 2003-2012.
After reviewing this report, a few state lawmakers began working with various
safety organizations to develop a law that could counter this alarming
The Purpose of “Liam’s Law”
Last month, Assemblymembers Autumn R. Burke (D-Inglewood) and Heath Flora
(R-Ripon) introduced Assembly Bill 1713 to the California State Assembly.
If approved, this bill will reduce the legal blood alcohol concentration
(BAC) limit to 0.05% for all non-commercial drivers in California.
Assembly Bill 1713 is also commonly known as “Liam’s Law,”
in honor of a 15-month-old infant who was struck and killed by an intoxicated
hit-and-run driver in 2016. Assemblywoman Burke was inspired to co-author
this bill after having a series of conversations with Liam’s parents,
Marcus Kowal and Mishel Eder, who are strong proponents of lowering the
state’s BAC limit.
According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), impairment begins long before a person’s BAC level reaches
0.08%, the current legal limit in California. In fact, the agency claims
that a 200-pound man is considered intoxicated after two drinks, while
a 160-pound woman is equally impaired after one drink. For this reason,
the NHTSA is aggressively advocating on behalf of Assembly Bill 1713.
If Assembly Bill 1713 becomes law, California will officially have one
of the strictest DUI laws in the nation. At present, Utah is the only
other state has adopted a 0.05% BAC standard, and to generally favorable
results. Senator Jeremy Hill, one of the bill’s other co-authors,
explains that Assembly Bill 1713 “will save lives. One hundred countries
have 0.05% BAC laws and it’s recommended by the National Transportation
Safety Board because it will reduce the 1,000 DUI deaths and 20,000 injuries
each year in California.”
However, this bill isn’t without its detractors. A 0.05% BAC limit
puts a serious damper on social drinking and happy hour. Plus, many criminal
defense attorneys are concerned that amending the Vehicle Code may lead
to more innocent people being convicted of DUI offenses because field
sobriety tests are so unreliable. The bill’s opponents are currently
hanging their hats on the fact that California is notoriously reluctant
to pass any new laws that could put more people behind bars.
Protect Your Driving Privileges Today
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in California,
Riverside DUI lawyers at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich today. Our trial-tested legal
team is armed with a comprehensive understanding of California’s
ever-evolving DUI laws. By investigating your case and researching your
arrest, our attorneys can develop a practical yet effective litigation
strategy that aims to secure a case dismissal, charge reduction, or acquittal.
When your future is at stake, turn to Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich.
Call our Riverside DUI lawyers at (951) 687-6003 to schedule a free consultation.