Buzzed Drivers, Beware!
For the past a decade, if you were caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, you were in trouble. Being arrested for driving while intoxicated would bring a world of court costs, legal fees and other issues. Many people think they are OK to drive as long as they don’t blow a .08, but that might be a thing of the past. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is asking states to reduce the BAC threshold to .05.
One Drink, Two Drink, Three Drink, Drunk!
One-third of all road fatalities are linked to drunk driving accidents. The NTSB’s plan would save approximately 500 to 800 lives a year in the United States.
Lowering the BAC means that fewer drinks are needed to reach the threshold. Right now, a 180-lb man has to have about four drinks in an hour to reach a BAC of .08. However, with a BAC threshold of .05, the same man could only have two or three drinks in an hour. Some people consider that level as running into the territory of acceptable social drinking. Some people are going to continue to make the decision to drink and drive and risk the serious consequences. Ultimately, more people who take the risk of driving intoxicated are going to be arrested.
Not everyone is happy with the proposed changes in BAC levels. Some of the objections are from sources you would expect, like the beverage industry, but even Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has criticized the effort. MADD doesn’t oppose the change, but thinks efforts are better focused on getting habitual drunk drivers off the road.
Drinking and driving even at the proposed lower level is a danger. According to the NTSB, cognitive and visual functions decline after you reach a BAC level of .05. The proposed lower BAC level will save lives and may keep some people from risking lives when they get behind the wheel. Either way, drunk driving laws are state statutes. The NTSB can only recommend changes to the states; it cannot enforce those recommendations.
Do you think lowering the BAC level to .05 can eliminate drunk driving? Share your thoughts on Recovery Connection’s Facebook page.
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