Lower Blood Alcohol Limit Urged by NTSB


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The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) this week issued guidelines meant to totally eliminate alcohol-related car crashes. Among their recommendations is that states lower their blood alcohol driving limits to 0.05.

“Most Americans think that we’ve solved the problem of impaired driving, but in fact, it’s still a national epidemic,” said Deborah Hersman, chairman of the NTSB. “On average, every hour one person is killed and 20 more are injured.”

The NTSB stated that 0.05 BAC (blood alcohol content) is when "most" drivers experience a decline in cognitive and visual ability. According to the NTSB, more than 100 countries have BAC limits at or lower than 0.05.

“The research clearly shows that drivers with a BAC above 0.05 are impaired and at a significantly greater risk of being involved in a crash where someone is killed or injured,” said Hersman.

The NTSB cited statistics to make their case that drunk driving is still a problem in the U.S. Among the statistics were the fact that close to 10,000 people each year are killed in alcohol-related car crashes. Also, 30% of highway fatalities are attributed to impaired drivers - a statistic that has remained relatively steady despite the total number of highway fatalities having fallen over the past few decades.

In addition to urging states to lower their BAC limits, the NTSC also recommended that states support sobriety checkpoints and "saturation patrols" in addition to high-profile media campaigns in an effort to deter drunk driving. It also endorsed the use of "administrative license suspension," which allows police to suspend a driver's license at the time of a DUI arrest, and went even further, stating that offenders should have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles before license reinstatement.

The NTSB released an informational YouTube PSA to accompany their recommendations: