NTSB wants to reduce blood alcohol content to reduce crashes

The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that North Carolina and all states should reduce the drunk driving threshold to .05 to reduce the number of car accidents caused by drunk drivers. They reported that roughly one-third of all traffic fatalities in the country are caused by drunk driving.

The NTSB recommended that all states should change the legal blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05 to help prevent serious and fatal car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. The NTSB said that alcohol-impaired fatalities are preventable and reducing the legal limit in the U.S. would reduce the number of drunk driving accidents.

The NTSB proposed lowering the legal limit to .05 after reports found that BAC levels of .05 have been linked to a higher risk of being in a fatal car accident. They also said that even BAC levels of .01 can impair a person's driving ability in some shape or form and can lead to an increased risk of being in a car crash.

If North Carolina and other states throughout the country adopt the lower standard, they would have the same drunk driving standards as most European countries. They reported that many countries in Europe already have a .05 BAC limit for drunk driving, with some Scandinavian countries having a lower limit of .02.

The recommendation to lower the threshold was applauded by many public safety groups. Law enforcement officials in North Carolina said that lowering the drunk driving threshold could have an impact on drunk driving accidents but they will continue to educate and inform drivers about the dangers of drunk driving regardless of what the legal limit is.

North Carolina law enforcement officials said that alcohol affects drivers differently, with some people becoming impaired after only a few drinks while other individuals may not be impaired after having several drinks, which can make it difficult for some drivers to fully recognize when they may be impaired because there is not a specific number of alcoholic drinks individuals can consume before they are impaired and unsafe to drive.

Source: Fay Observer, "Tougher drunken driving threshold of 0.05 blood alcohol content recommended," Caitlin Dineen, May 15, 2013

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