In an effort to curb alcohol-related car accidents, the U.S safety board proposed that the long standing benchmark for "drunk" driving, be lowered from 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) to 0.05. The proposal comes in response to the 10,000 alcohol related car crashes reported annually. Part of an initiative started by the U.S safety board, its aim is to eliminate drunk driving, which accounts for one third of all road deaths.
Debbie Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, described the proposal as “…critical because impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers in the United States”. Hersman did comment that progress had been made to reduce drunk driving but too many still dy as a result of impaired drivers.
"In the last 30 years, more than 440,000 people have perished in this country due to alcohol-impaired driving. What will be our legacy 30 years from now?" , asked Hersman. "If we don't tackle alcohol-impaired driving now, when will we find the will to do so?"
The average 180 pound male will reach a BAC of .08 if consuming four drinks per hour, with individual tolerance sometimes being much less than the average. It is obvious that drivers may be impaired by fewer than four beers, and policy makers should take note of such a possibility.
Although there may be no “silver bullet” for drunk driving, the proactive approach taken by the board will surely reduce the staggering number of drunk driving accidents. The safety board estimates that lowering the BAC level to .05 will save approximately 500-800 lives annually.
Personally, having both prosecuted drunk drivers and represented victims of drunk driving accidents, I think this new proposed law is great. Impairment at certain BAC levels depends on many individual factors, but there is no doubt that a significant number of people are too dangerous to be behind the wheel of a vehicle at less than the .08 limit, and hopefully this new proposal becomes law.
[image credit: examiner.com]