Is the BAC limit the same for everyone?

Is the BAC limit the same for everyone?

The standard blood alcohol content (BAC) permitted for drivers across the United States is 0.08%. Anyone testing over this will automatically be charged with DUI (driving under the influence) or whatever a particular state calls it. Utah is the exception, where the base rate is 0.05% BAC.

However, in most states, including New Jersey, there are exceptions where the limit is lower for specific groups of people.

Here are the two exceptions in New Jersey

  • Commercial drivers: These face a 0.04% legal limit
  • Under 21-year-olds: These face a 0.01% limit

That might seem unfair if you are under 21, but remember, you are generally not legally allowed to drink alcohol in the first place.

The standard limit might drop

Utah introduced the 0.05% limit in 2018. A National Highway Transport Administration (NHTSA) study shows that it reduced the number of fatalities and the number of fatal crashes by around 15% compared to states studied that did not reduce the BAC limit.

The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) wants other states to follow, and it has been pushing this agenda for some time. For the moment, however, New Jersey maintains a 0.08% limit unless you are under 21 or driving on a commercial license.

Does that mean I’m safe, provided I stay under the relevant limit?

Not quite. The police can still charge you with an offense if they believe alcohol has affected your ability to drive safely. As any amount of alcohol will adversely affect your driving ability, it may come down to their interpretation of your driving versus yours.

However high or low you test, and whatever grounds the police use to charge you with drunk driving, legal help will be crucial to contest the charge.