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Stricter DUI laws may be on the way

Despite efforts from substance abuse centers, law enforcement, politicians, educators and even parents, drunk driving remains a problem in Massachusetts. While there are many people who get stuck with false convictions from faulty tests, or who really only had one glass of wine hours before heading home, there are millions of people in America who endanger the lives of others by regularly driving drunk.

CNN reports that 110 million people admitted to drunk driving every year. However, only one million Americans were arrested for drunk driving in 2016. Because of this discrepancy in finding and detecting drunk drivers, policy makers are now considering a new way to reduce drunk driving. They want to lower the legal blood alcohol content level.

People who support the move point out that when all 50 states reduced their legal BAC to 0.08% in 2004, it reduced fatalities. They argue that another lowering of the BAC could help to prevent the fact that drunk drivers still kill 29 people every day in America. That is essentially one death every 50 minutes. In fact, researchers find that for every 1% of additional toughness in policies, there was also a 1% reduction in traffic accidents involving alcohol impairment.

Forbes notes that drunk driving is now the single most common contributing factor to traffic accident deaths in America. It is no wonder then that so many Americans support a lower BAC. Other proposed solutions include a BAC ignition lock on the vehicles of all drivers from the very first offense. Note that these can be very expensive to maintain, not to mention the embarrassment of operating them in public spaces.

Fortunately, not all policymakers are focused on punishment rather than providing incentives. One incentive-driven solution is to invest more in improving the public transportation systems. This may encourage more people to choose the bus or train when going for a night out on the town, rather than get behind the wheel. Until then, drivers with substance abuse problems or who have already been convicted of a DUI may want to seek professional help and take every possible step not to re-offend.

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