In May of 2013, I wrote about the National Transportation Safety Board’s proposal to lower the blood alcohol content limit while driving from 0.08 percent to 0.05. It seems that the National Transportation Safety Board is once again pushing states to lower their BAC limits.
According to WTKR, members of the NTSB are lobbied Virginia and other states to reduce their BAC limits. Last week NTSB member Mark Rosekind made the proposal in New England at a conference moderated by the area’s American Automobile Association.
Not surprisingly, Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports the reduction arguing that, with a BAC of 0.05, drivers are a danger to themselves and others on the road. “If you are impaired and behind the wheel, you should not be driving,” said Mike Goodove, attorney for the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The problem is that some, myself included, believe that not everyone is impaired at a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent and that limit should not be lowered.
“It would essentially make it impossible for women to drink anything with their meals and feel comfortable driving home,” Said Sarah Longwell of the American Beverage Institute. “This would be devastating to the restaurant industry because it would preclude people from feeling comfortable having a single glass of wine with their dinner.”
Longwell is absolutely correct. For many people, one drink could put them at a 0.05 percent blood alcohol content or higher. However, not everyone with a 0.05 percent blood alcohol content is incapable of responsibly operating a vehicle.
Let’s also consider the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s owns statistics: In 2011 California suffered 2,791 traffic fatalities. Of those, only 112 (4%) involved a person with a BAC of 0.01 to 0.07 percent. However, 774 (28%) traffic fatalities involved a person with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more.
Nationally in 2011, there were 32,367 traffic fatalities. Of those, 1,633 (5%) involved a person with a BAC of 0.01 to 0.07 percent or higher. However, 9,878 (31%) of traffic fatalities involved a person with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.
I think it goes without saying that statistics for fatalities involving a person with a BAC of 0.05 percent would be much lower than the numbers provided above.
While the federal government does not set the BAC limits throughout the country, the feds can offer incentives to encourage states to adopt this lower standard. The incentives may include funds for highways to states that follow the proposal.