When Was Drunk Driving Made Illegal Federally?
In 1872, in London it was illegal to drive a horse and carriage while drunk. There was a fine of 40 shillings and imprisonment with or without hard labor.
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It was not until the late 1930’s and 1940’s that states began to enact stricter DUI laws. These laws specified a specific blood-alcohol content (BAC) level that defined drunk driving.
Drunk driving became a serious issue when it became clear that the number of people injured or killed by drunk drivers was too great to ignore. The cost of alcohol-related crashes is over $100 billion per year, and the loss of life caused by drinking and driving is a tragedy.
Despite these statistics, it is still very common to see drivers who are intoxicated at the wheel. In fact, it is estimated that every 52 minutes someone dies in an accident with a drunk driver.
There is no way to estimate the number of injuries and fatalities that are caused by drunk driving, but it is estimated that a person dies from an alcohol-related crash in the United States every single day. As such, it is a problem that should be taken seriously and the government must take action to address this issue.
Until the early 1970s, most arrests for drunken driving were made by police officers based on their “opinion” and no scientific evidence was ever provided. This was a major issue because it was difficult to prove whether or not an individual was impaired by drinking and driving, especially in the early days when there was no standard field sobriety tests available.
This situation caused a lot of confusion because most drivers were not aware that they could be charged with a DUI. As a result, they often lied about their alcohol consumption and drove home with a clean record after being arrested.
In some cases, the arresting officer would have a field sobriety test at the scene of the traffic stop. In other cases, the police would use their own methods to determine intoxication.
These methods, though effective, were inconsistent and were not based on any science. Hence, these methods were usually not followed by the courts in most cases.
The BAC Limit Was Dropped
By the mid-1980’s, it was becoming increasingly clear that a lower BAC was needed to make a difference in the amount of accidents and deaths caused by drunk drivers. This was largely due to the efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, which helped to get the legal BAC limit down from.10 to.08.
The BAC Limit Was Applied to Other Substances
In the late 1990’s, it was also becoming clear that some other substances should be included in the legal BAC limits. This was particularly true of designer drugs like bath salts, molly, and spice that can impair mental sharpness and slow reaction times.