NTSB Recommends Lowering BAC Level to .05

It is hard to believe that just 30 years ago in the United States, the legal blood alcohol content for driving impaired was .15 percent, nearly double the current limit of .08. But the National Transportation Safety Board is trying to have the legal limit reduced to .05 percent in New Jersey and other states. That could mean a DWI after just one extra dry martini.

The NTSB told federal officials recently that by lowering the legal BAC limit, hundreds of lives could be saved a year. Could this really help reduce the number of fatalities caused by DWIs or will it just provide more money to the government for DWI convictions? New Jersey residents want to know.

According to the NTSB, around 10,000 people are killed each year by drunk drivers. But with a lower BAC limit, would more people face DWI convictions? A BAC of .05 means only one drink for the average woman and two beers for the average man. “Going out for drinks” could become “going out for a drink then waiting to drive.” Having a DWI on one’s record can cause detrimental effects, including heavy fines, jail time and license suspension.

Representatives of the beer and liquor industry reacted negatively to the new recommendation, claiming that between .05 percent and .08 percent is not where the fatalities are occurring. As of now, no states, including New Jersey, have taken any legal action on the new recommendation from the NTSB. What do you think? Would lowering the legal limit help reduce fatalities?

Source: The Washington Post, “NTSB: Get tougher on drunken driving,” Ashley Halsey, May 14, 2013