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 statistic.
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 Attorney 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, contact the Riverside County 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 Attorney can develop a practical yet effective litigation strategy that aims to secure a case dismissal, charge reduction, or acquittal.