Lower the Legal Alcohol Limit?

For most people on the average day, a .08 BAC (blood alcohol content) is actually pretty common. It represents about one drink per hour, so if you are out for dinner with friends, a few drinks consumed over the course of the evening won’t be a problem. In the same way, if you meet a friend for a drink and only have one or two drinks over the course of a few hours, a higher BAC isn’t an issue.

But what about those who are of larger stature and can handle more alcohol, or those who drink more often and therefore have a higher tolerance? Well, the reality is, while the alcohol may not seem to have any effect on your abilities or the way you feel, the law still puts limits on how much you can consume at one time. But what if that changed? What if the legal limit got even lower? Not gonna happen, you say? Well, don’t be too sureā€¦..

In January of this year, the National Transportation Safety Board made public the fact that they are considering changing the legal limit from .08 to .05, or possibly even lower. The reason? They think it will cut back on drunk driving related fatalities and other alcohol related accidents.

The NTSB’s 2016 “most wanted” list, which they posted on their webpage last month, revealed the list of policies and safety improvements they are hoping to implement in 2016. The list, dubbed “a road map from lessons learned to lives saved,” stresses implementing technology to reduce crashes, changes to overall safety regulations, and ending the use of cellphones in cars including the use of hands-free devices.

In a statement released on their website, the NTSB said this, “For more than 30 years, we have known that drinking and driving kills. In the last 15 years alone, data show that one-third of highway deaths involved an alcohol-impaired driver.”

According to data from the National Highway Transportation Authority, just over 30% of deadly crashes involve a drunk driver, and that one quarter of deadly car crashes involving teens also involve alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that approximately 112 million alcohol-impaired trips are made by drivers each year.

Obviously, many people are unthrilled by the prospect of a lowered legal limit for drivers on a national scale, which would affect the individual states. But what do you think? Would it help to reduce the number of drunk driving crashes in Michigan, or would it likely make no difference?


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