As a responsible, conscientious driver, you’re careful to follow the rules of the road and treat other motorists respectfully. One essential rule that all drivers must follow is not operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Doing so puts others at great risk, and can easily lead to tragedy.
There is always a chance that you may encounter a drunk driver on the road. That is why there are strict laws in place to penalize those that operate vehicles dangerously or drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a certain limit. The California Department of Motor Vehicles explains the laws governing drunk driving, which are in place to protect all motorists.
What are the legal BAC limits?
Operating a vehicle over a certain BAC will result in a drunk driving charge. For drivers aged 21 or older, the BAC limit is 0.08%. For drivers under the legal drinking age and those currently on DUI probation, regardless of age, BAC limits are 0.01%. In vehicles that require a commercial driver’s license to operate, BAC limits are 0.04%.
Are there laws against driving on other substances?
Much like alcohol intoxication, driving while impaired on drugs is also against the law. This includes drugs that are legal under normal circumstances but that can impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. For example, both prescription and over the counter medications can cause drowsiness. This includes prescribed pain medication, as well as common cold and allergy medications.
Can passengers drink while in a vehicle?
While passengers are not actually operating the vehicle, they are not permitted to drink while being transported. All alcohol containers must be closed and sealed while inside a passenger vehicle in transit. If a container has been opened and is unsealed, it must be placed in the trunk or in another inaccessible area. This does not include the glove box, which is considered accessible.
A single drunk driving accident can have a devastating effect on multiple people. In many cases, those most seriously injured are the responsible motorists caught in a negligent person’s path.