Alcohol Testing

Critics: Reducing Blood Alcohol Content Limit Is Not The Answer To Drunk Driving Fatalities

A recent proposal to decrease the blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold for drivers is getting flak from anti-drunk driving advocates.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a comprehensive report lobbying to reduce the legal limit of a non-commercial driver’s blood alcohol level from 0.08 to 0.05. By logic, this seems common sense, since drivers with lower alcohol content in their blood tend to function better on the road than drunk drivers.

However, critics and advocates are not pleased with this effort, according to a news release. In fact, the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) believes that the government’s focus is slightly off-base. MADD President Jan Withers expressed her opposition to the proposal, saying that reducing the BAC limit “will take a lot of effort for a potential result that is many, many years down the line.”

In its report entitled “Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving”, the NTSB discusses the relative crash risk of a driver with varying blood alcohol content levels. The study shows that drivers with a BAC of 0.05 have 38 percent likelihood of figuring in a drunk-driving accident, while at 0.08 the driver has more than 150 percent risk.

Despite the clashing sides, the NTSB and its critics agree that drunk drivers should be kept off the road, and that effective policies must be in place to reduce incidents of drunk-driving accidents. Driver education on the effects of drinking must be strengthened, while technologies to prevent drunk people from driving should be further developed.

NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman says that the statistics of road fatalities due to alcohol impairment may have plateaued, but the issue has not been totally solved yet.

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