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Plan would drop legally drunk from B.A. of 0.08 to 0.05

Police departments nationwide stand to cash in if state governments embrace a controversial plan proposed by The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to drop the definition of "drunk driving" from 0.08 to 0.05.  The five-member board voted unanimously to approve the new policy suggestion.

I. NTSB Says Its Time to Get Strict

Drunk driving laws in the U.S. first landed in the early 1900s; New York became the first state to ban it in 1910, with a legal blood alcohol limit of 0.15 percent blood alcohol.  For many decades the limit remained at 0.15 in many states; then in the 1980s a push by advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) led to states embracing a stricter limit of 0.08, while adopting "zero-tolerance" limits of 0.01 or 0.02 percent blood alcohol for teenage drivers.

The NTSB justifies yet another serious increase, arguing that alcohol remains responsible for a third of road deaths.  NTSB Chairman Debbie Hersman says there's "no silver bullet" for drunk driving, but she comments, "This is critical because impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers in the United States.  In the last 30 years, more than 440,000 people have perished in this country due to alcohol-impaired driving. What will be our legacy 30 years from now?  If we don't tackle alcohol-impaired driving now, when will we find the will to do so?"

While body chemistry varies, a 180-pound (81.6 kg) male will typically hit 0.08 after four "drinks" (12 oz. domestic beers) over an hour, according to the University of Oklahoma.  Three drinks would be required to hit 0.06; however keep in mind that many "tall" (or standard size craft) beers or mixed drinks count as two or more "drinks".

II. Technology Battle Over Drunk Driving is Heated

According to the NTSB as little as 0.01 BAC (blood alcohol content) can lead to lane departures.  At 0.02 they exhibit drowsiness, and at 0.04 their vigilance is substantially reduced.
Global blood alcohol limits
Global blood alcohol limits [Image Source: NTSB]

Many police departments nationwide are increasing drunk driving ticket via another mechanism -- passive sensors.  Passive sensors "sniff" the air for the presence of alcohol during traffic stops, so that officers don't have to rely on driving behavior, driver demeanor, or breath odor (which might be influenced by mints or gum) to determine if a driver might be drunk.

Drunk driver
Police are increasing using passive sensors to catch drunk drivers. [Image Source: CNN]

At the same time some cases have challenged the accuracy/validity of breathalyzers, demanding their code be shared with defendants.

The issue is likely to remain a hot button topic for years to come, particularly if the NTSB succeeds in pushing this stricter standard on the public.  The NTSB has also been busy trying to crack down on distracted driving.  Texting while driving has been shown in some studies to be more dangerous than drunk driving.

Source: NTSB

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RE: Are these people bored?
By jimbojimbo on 5/15/2013 12:14:26 PM , Rating: 3
If you feel that's what happened you can request a blood test which is FAR more accurate and would override the simple breath test. Besides, do you drive like crap after rinsing your mouth with Listerine?
They should really gauge the punishment on the level you're at.
.05% gets license suspended for a year - or something
.08% gets license permanently suspended - no exceptions
Maybe people will quit drinking and driving but if they want to do it they have to pay the consequences.

RE: Are these people bored?
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/15/2013 12:26:52 PM , Rating: 4
.08% gets license permanently suspended - no exceptions
This I don't agree with. If it's a first time offense, most certainly not. Some people DO learn their lesson and never do it again.

RE: Are these people bored?
By MrBungle123 on 5/15/2013 1:30:05 PM , Rating: 1
yes then we can load the prison system with tens of thousands of people arrested for driving with a suspended license that had it taken away because they had 1.35 beers!

If they set the limit low enough they can just start arresting everyone that steps out of a bar and into a car.

RE: Are these people bored?
By degobah77 on 5/15/2013 1:54:37 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, freedom! Freedom to obesity, working 60-80 hour work weeks, paying 40% income tax, and now the freedom to get arrested for drinking a beer and driving home!

I don't even know what is legal anymore. Pretty sure I'm doing something wrong right now.

RE: Are these people bored?
By FITCamaro on 5/15/2013 2:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
You're posting on an internet forum on company time. Clearly you're a lazy, stealing piece of crap.


RE: Are these people bored?
By BRB29 on 5/16/2013 7:53:58 AM , Rating: 2
wait what?
Why do you work 60-80hrs a week. A full time job is at least 80hrs a week.

10% on taxable income from $0 to $8,925, plus
15% on taxable income over $8,925 to $36,250, plus
25% on taxable income over $36,250 to $87,850, plus
28% on taxable income over $87,850 to $183,250, plus
33% on taxable income over $183,250 to $398,350, plus
35% on taxable income over $398,350 to $400,000, plus
39.6% on taxable income over $400,000.

I highly doubt you are making over 400k. If you were making over 400k, you still average well under that in taxes because only anything past 400k gets taxed 39.6%.

It takes about 4 beer to get an average man of 180 lb to .08 so a beer won't get you arrested. This is if you slam 4 beer and leave immediately. If you spend 2 hrs at the bar and drink 4 beer then you probably already processed 2 of them.

You don't know what's legal or what you're saying.

RE: Are these people bored?
By degobah77 on 5/16/2013 8:39:14 AM , Rating: 2
I don't slam bud lights considering I make over $400k/year ;) However, I do like Belgian beers, which are regularly 9-14% ABV and sold in 750ml bottles.

So as I said, I go out and enjoy one of my favorite beers, and I very well may be over that 0.05 BAC level. Looks like I'm gonna have to take a cab home after every single happy hour Monday - Friday during my 120 hour work week. Or just not go out at all and contribute nothing to my local economy, letting all my favorite bars and restaurants struggle to stay open.

God forbid I order a second beer and enjoy this American freedom. After 2 beers, I'm sure I'll be jailed for premeditated attempted vehicular mass murder and suicide.

Or maybe, just maybe, some people can drive just fine and should be granted the privilege once they demonstrate it to the licensing state.

RE: Are these people bored?
By Fidget on 5/16/2013 10:25:57 AM , Rating: 2
I was merely making a point that the .05 level is aburdly low.

Also, I would imagine most people who would be getting hit with a DUI for a .05 would be through sobriety check points and not from being pulled over from driving like "crap".

RE: Are these people bored?
By degobah77 on 5/16/2013 11:24:52 AM , Rating: 2
Pulling over cars that are swerving, driving erratically, excessively speeding, running red lights makes more sense if you're truly looking for dangerous drunk drivers. That sounds like providing a public safety service, rather than the purely revenue based, NON-safety related DUIs that result from freedom raping checkpoints or random tail lights being out, or something else that has absolutely nothing to do with how much alcohol was consumed.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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