The Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Levels May be Reduced
On May 14, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that the legal limit for drinking and driving be lowered from .08% blood alcohol content to .05%. Every state in the union has laws on the books that a person is legally impaired by alcohol if their blood alcohol level (BAC) is over .08%.
A person having a .08% or higher and is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle is considered driving under the influence (DUI). The NTSB cites the reduction of DUI deaths and injuries when the BAC level for DUI was lowered from .10% to .08%. However, this process took more than 11 years to pass in every state, and not without blow back from restaurant, bar and entertainment lobbies.
Now the NTSB wants to lower the limit even further. This means an average woman who weighs 120 pounds would be DUI after two drinks and an average man of 175 pounds would be DUI after three drinks. Some favor the reduction. Others say it’s too conservative. In any event, this proposal will certainly spark a lively debate across the board.
In fact, the state of Michigan will be RAISING its limit back to .10% in October of this year. It is the aim of the NTSB and the insurance industry to lower the incidents of injury and death caused by drunk drivers. It is hard to argue with the number of reduced injuries and deaths as a result of the last lowering of the legal BAC. We live in a society that is busy and growing. Is it unreasonable to try to make our streets and highways safer by addressing DUI more aggressively? Regardless, DUI drivers are reckless and negligent. Lowering the limit may, over time, reduce the crashes, injuries and deaths they cause. There is a benefit in that for sure.