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The DWI-Car Accident Nexus; NTSB Recommendations and Maryland Law

We noted in a prior blog post (August 30) the startling admission from 17 million Americans that they are not deterred from driving even when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.

That level, of course, is the legal threshold for drunk driving in all 50 states. The statistic comes courtesy of a study compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and its implications are crystal clear: That many drunk drivers on roadways across the country is a sure recipe for constantly recurring car accidents and other motor vehicle mishaps.

Truly unfortunate is that accidents involving drunk drivers yield deadly results at an inordinately high rate. The organization Alcohol Alert notes, for example, that of all the traffic fatalities suffered in Maryland in 2008, 26 percent of them involved drivers with a blood alcohol level above 0.08.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wants Maryland and all other states to do something strongly proactive to combat that statistic and drive the numbers down. It calls for all states to fully implement an 11-point program targeted at identifying and removing what it calls "hard-core" drunk drivers from roads and highways. The agency defines such drivers as those who have two DWIconvictions within a 10-year period or who have tested out at any time with a BAC of 0.15 or higher.

No state has fully implemented all the recommendations, but some, including Maryland, do follow through on some of the central features. Maryland, for example, is one of a majority of states that allows for sobriety checkpoints, and in fact conducts them comparatively often, with patrols out in force each week.

Related Resource: www.drugfree.org/join-together "National Transportation Safety Board Goes After 'Hard-Core' Drunk Drivers" December 13, 2010

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