While most DUIs get reported in Section B, on July 17 a fatal second-offense DUI case made the front page of the Advocate. The attorney for the defendant not only questioned the reading of the Breathalyzer, which was reported to be over three times the 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) legal limit for driving, but also was reported as blaming the cyclist for the accident while the cyclist was riding legally.
While the family of the deceased cyclist is considering lawsuits against the driver as well as the bar which served the defendant his last drinks before he struck the cyclist, I have a suggestion to the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) for all bars in Baton Rouge that would save bars money and make Baton Rouge streets safer, both for drivers and cyclists.
Since all bars are required to check the ID of each of their clients before they let them in, I suggest that the ATC require all bars to check the BAC of these same clients when they leave, to determine if they over the legal limit, 0.08, and therefore legally impaired.
The bars could let those with a BAC over 0.08 leave, but with written notification containing the same ID data that got them in and their BAC. This could be done with wristbands issued proving they are in the bar legally.
Given this BAC reading as they leave, those deemed legally impaired would be notified of their condition, given an 800 telephone number for public transportation, such as buses or taxis, or asked to leave with unimpaired friends. Most people cannot tell if they are legally impaired when they are impaired, and this valuable information would allow them to make informed decisions before they drive.
As baby boomers growing up in South Louisiana, “driving while drinking” was simply a means to travel from bar to bar. The cost of a Breathalyzer is less $100. The value of a life is priceless.