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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: I weigh 200 lbs
By edge929 on 5/16/2013 12:16:49 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing. If my 120lb wife drinks one margarita in an hour, she'd be over the limit at 0.05 and very close at 0.08. We rarely drink alcohol but when we do it's usually with a nice meal at a restaurant. Lowering BA to 0.05 would effectively kill that for many people.


RE: I weigh 200 lbs
By borismkv on 5/16/2013 4:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
Heaven forbid people have to get a damn taxi after going out drinking. Poor little snowflakes.


RE: I weigh 200 lbs
By MrBungle123 on 5/16/2013 5:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
I have no issue with trying to stop drunk driving but setting .05 as the legal limit is just idiotic.

People that are drinking either have sense enough to know when they've had too much or they don't. People at bars or parties don't think about weather or not they are at .08 they think about weather they can get home without wrecking their car or driving in a manner that makes their level of drunkenness so obvious that they will get pulled over.

All this law would do is make it so that coherent people pulled over for something stupid like a dead tail light or something end up with thousands of dollars in fines and lost jobs because of spending a couple days in jail.


RE: I weigh 200 lbs
By degobah77 on 5/17/2013 7:58:51 AM , Rating: 2
God forbid people be allowed to live the way they want to while you are allowed to live the way YOU want to.


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