NTSB Recommends Lowering DUI Limit

The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all 50 states lower the DUI limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. The benchmark for determining legal intoxication has been in place for 10 years.

The NTSB made its recommendation on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., saying that it will help reduce the nation’s drunk driving death toll. The toll has plateaued at around 10,000 deaths per year.

NTSB staff members asserted that lowering the DUI limit to 0.05 would save about 500 to 800 lives per year. It is an integral part of the federal safety officials’ attempt to halt drunken driving in the United States.

Along with lowering the DUI limit, the NTSB will also consider recommending that states expand their laws allowing police to confiscate licenses from drivers who exceed the blood alcohol limit. It also recommends that states have laws requiring all first-time offenders have ignition locking devices on their cars that prevent the vehicle from starting until the driver gives a breath sample.

The new recommended DUI limit of 0.05 percent lowers the risk of a crash by half, according to the report by the NTSB. Deborah Hersman, the NTSB chairman, explained:

“This is critical because impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers in the United States. To make a bold difference will require bold action. But it can be done.”

The American Beverage Institute criticized the report. The Institute, a trade group that represents 8,000 restaurants, stated that the report focuses more on moderate drinkers than the more dangerous drunken drivers.

On average, a woman will reach an 0.05 percent blood alcohol content after one drink. However, more than 70 percent of drunken driving fatalities happen when a driver has a blood alcohol content of more than 0.15 percent. Sarah Longwell, the institute’s managing director, added:

“This recommendation is ludicrous. Further restricting the moderate consumption of alcohol by responsible adults prior to driving does nothing to stop hard-core drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.”

The NTSB does not have the power to make laws or regulations. However, it can make recommendations to states and the federal government.

Do you think the DUI limit should be lowered to 0.05 percent, or are there other ways to combat drunken driving?

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