The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has voted to issue a new recommendation for states looking to combat the scourge of drunk driving. The new recommendation consists of lowering the legal ceiling on blood alcohol content (BAC) of drivers from .08 BAC to .05 BAC.
In issuing its new recommendation, the NTSB has acknowledged that the number of drunk driving related deaths has halved from 30 years ago. The NTSB insists in its report, however, that 10,000 deaths and 170,000 personal injuries are unacceptable, and that lowering the BAC is a proven method of decreasing the number of injuries and fatalities from drunk driving.
The NTSB also cites experiences in other nations by analyzing their traffic fatality statistics. The NTSB notes that Russia, a number of western European nations, some South American nations and Australia have set the legal BAC limit at .05. The BAC limit change in these countries has resulted in overwhelmingly positive results in terms of drops in traffic fatalities and injuries, with Australian provinces reporting drops in drunk driving wrongful deaths as high as 18%.
Restaurant trade groups in the United States immediately issue a statement of protest against the NTSB’s recommendation. A spokesperson for the trade groups has called the recommendation “ludicrous,” and has denied that the measure would have any positive effect on the amount of drunk driving. The spokesperson further stated that the recommendation, if adopted, would only punish responsible drivers.
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