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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: Stupid
By Aloonatic on 5/20/2013 6:42:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I agree. I had a buddy back in the day who could be piss drunk but some how managed to drive no different then he was sober. I would like to see evidence of how many drunk driving crashes are caused due to high speeds. The majority of the time that I here a drunk driver caused a crash it is because of speed.
You are missing the point.

Most people could probably drive around OK when they were drunk and everything is OK on the other side of the windshield... The thing is, it's when something happens that is unexpected, like someone stepping out into the road, another car stopping unexpectedly (the random stuff really) then your reaction times when drunk are proven to be slower, and you're more likely to end up hurting yourself, your passenger(s) and third parties. Hell, if we use the logic that a buddy can do something OK when drunk, well, I could drive OK before I took my test and got a licence, so lets not bother with that either?!?!

The difference with speed and driving drunk is, you do not need to be drunk to drive, but you do need to be traveling at some kind of speed to be driving. Now where you set the limit for the speed that you can travel is a different debate, and anything over 1mph will be arguably increasingly unsafe as you increase speeds, but when it comes to driving with alcohol in your system, there little need to have any in your system (baring medication or a tiny residual amount from the night before maybe) and drive a potentially lethal piece of equipment.


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