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8 Facts About Illinois' 0.08% DUI Limit

We now all associate a 0.08% blood alcohol content as the general legal limit for drunken driving. But how much do you really know about the limit?

Here are eight facts about the 0.08% blood alcohol limit, as provided by the Illinois Secretary of State:

  1. All 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have adopted 0.08% as the general legal limit for driving drunk, when it comes to adults 21 and over.

  2. Illinois adopted the 0.08% limit in 1997, making it one of the earlier states to adopt the standard.

  3. Most states used 0.10% as the legal standard for driving drunk, until 2000. One of then-President Bill Clinton's final acts in office was to pass a transportation bill that required states to either adopt the federal standard of 0.08% or risk losing out on federal transportation grants.

  4. At 0.08%, just about all drivers are impaired to the point that critical driving skills are greatly diminished. Studies indicate that at 0.08%, a driver's steering, braking, speed control, lane changing, gear changing and judgments of speed and distance are all significantly impaired.

  5. It doesn't take much to reach 0.08%. An average-sized male (weighing about 170 pounds) would only have to consume four or more drinks in one hour on an empty stomach. The average-sized female (about 137 pounds) would only have to consume three drinks in one hour to reach 0.08%. A drink is considered a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a cocktail containing 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

  6. At 0.08, a driver is three times more likely to be involved in a car crash than a sober driver, and 11 times more likely to be killed in a single-vehicle crash.

  7. It is a myth that repeat DUI offenders and alcoholics are responsible for most alcohol-related crashes. In fact, about 80% of alcohol-related crash fatalities are caused by drivers with no arrests for drunken driving during the previous three years.

  8. If you think we have it rough, China has the equivalent of a 0.02% legal limit for driving drunk. Of course, for drivers under 21, Illinois still strictly enforces a zero tolerance policy.

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