Lowering the OUI limit in Massachusetts

DUI’s, OUI’s in Massachusetts, have become a huge problem throughout the United States. Recently, in an effort to lower the many cases of drunk driving, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that states lower the legal blood-alcohol limit from .08 to .05. This recommendation is not receiving much support in Massachusetts from establishments that serve alcohol as well as prominent safety organizations. Specifically, the Massachusetts chapter of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) does not support the NTSB’s recommendation and believes that there are more proficient ways of curbing drunk driving within the State such as interlock ignition devices and other drunk driving laws that are already in place.

If Massachusetts were to implement a new law based on the suggestion of the NTSB, there could be many positive and negative consequences. For instance, if the OUI limit is lowered, it could reduce the amount of fatalities and property damage caused by drunk driving within the state. People may choose to be more careful with their drinking and therefore create a safer and more law abiding environment on Massachusetts public roadways. On the other hand, lowering the limit may also flood the MA court system with an abundance of less severe OUI cases. Depending on the weight of a person and how long they have been drinking, a blood alcohol level of .05 can likely be reached after two beers or two glasses of wine. This may cause an outpouring of OUI cases in the state of Massachusetts that would never have come through the court system if not for the change in the law.

Although changing the legal blood-alcohol limit is not yet on the state Legislature’s agenda, the Senate will be working with law enforcement and a variety of advocacy groups to review the NTSB recommendation. If the change is made, MA will surely see a drastic change whether it be in it’s OUI fatality statistics, OUI court statistics, or more. Clearly, we all want a safer Massachusetts but the question becomes: is this new legislation really the way to go or are the laws that we currently have in place good enough?

If you have been charged with an OUI, traffic offense or other criminal offense in Massachusetts, contact my office immediately for your free initial consultation:

(617) 830 – 2188
www.urbelislaw.com