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The Florida Bar

.05 Legal Limit & Uber Rideshare Impact on DUI

Nhtsa Seeks Lower Dui Limit as Part of It’s Zero Alcohol Impaired Driving Fatalities Campaign

The National Highway traffic Safety Association is pushing to reduce the legal limit from .08 to .05 nationally over the next 10 years. The “Vision Zero” campaign seems to rival even MADD’s assault aimed at toughening drunk driving laws over the past few decades. Ironically Mother’s Against Drunk Driving has publicly refused to assist NHTSA in this regard. Currently only one state has passed the .05 BAC law, although it will not actually be implemented until December 2018. Other states have indicated a willingness to follow suit. Florida has not shown an interest in lowering its legal limit.

“We’re actually seeing some leniency over the past few years in South Florida when it comes to “Driving Under the Influence.” This leniency, born out of necessity, is the direct result of MADD’s success in directing any conceivable resource in our criminal justice system toward Impaired Driving, which happens to be an incredibly expensive offense to police. Even the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles has lightened their administrative rules over the past decade as they pertain to obtaining a hardship permit following an arrest. Requests for administrative review hearings had bogged down department’s ability to function throughout the state. Eventually the department just said “fine, you can drive for business purposes following an arrest without having to go through any “hard time” (time without any form of driving). It was a major change that favors the offender here in Florida.

South Florida Drunk Driving Policing and Prosecution Is Questionably Inconsistent

An examination of the Tri-County area with respect to arresting and prosecuting impaired drivers raises some significant questions. At the same time that Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County were implementing diversion programs to deal with the sheer number of arrests, Broward County all but did away with the DUI task force and has seen less DUI arrests than ever. Broward County is the only of the tri-Counties to have no diversion program and despite its unexplainable decrease in apparent impaired driving offenders, its neighboring counties still continue to allow first offenders an opportunity to participate in a program another case dismissed. Diversion programs are frowned upon by groups such as MADD in that offenders know that they get one free bite at the apple and are not deterred from having a few drinks and getting behind the wheel.

It is estimated that .05 Legal Limit will be implemented Nationally within the next 10 years in that the federal government will likely deny road and highway funding to states that refuse to lower their blood alcohol content statutes. It is also claimed that a uniform national .05 limit will save 1,800 lives annually although just how these numbers were calculated is somewhat suspect considering all of the factors that could influence changes one way or another.

“Logic would dictate that the increasing popularity of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft would naturally result in a decreased number of DUI related accidents. What we are seeing however is a radical inconsistency among major US cities with reference to Ridesharing and the number of impaired driving incidents.

Could it be that NHTSA’s Aggressive Zero DUI Fatalities campaign is designed to siphon credit from growing Rideshare popularity?

Makes you wonder.

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