This past Tuesday we published news that reflects traffic fatalities are at all time high and one way the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wants to try to lower those is by focusing on tougher laws for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The most debated piece in this focus is the recommendation to lower the legal blood alcohol level. Currently, all states have a limit of 0.08, but the National Safety Board wants to see that lowered to 0.05.
Chairman of NTSB, Deborah A.P. Hersman said, “Most Americans think that we’ve solved the problem of impaired driving, but in fact, it’s still a national epidemic. NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said. “On average, every hour one person is killed and 20 more are injured.”
The NTSB estimates that about 1,000 lives would be saved per year if the legal blood alcohol limit were lowered. There current press release states:
“Each year in the United States, nearly 10,000 people are killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers and more than 173,000 are injured, with 27,000 suffer incapacitating injuries. Since the mid-1990s, even as total highway fatalities have fallen, the proportion of deaths from accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver has remained constant at around 30 percent. In the last 30 years, nearly 440,000 people have died in alcohol related crashes.
Today, investigators cited research that showed that although impairment begins with the first drink, by 0.05 BAC, most drivers experience a decline in both cognitive and visual functions, which significantly increases the risk of a serious crash. Currently, over 100 countries on six continents have BAC limits set at 0.05 or lower. The NTSB has asked all 50 states to do the same.”
Along with lowering the blood alcohol limit, they would also like to toughen the laws for violators. These laws include using passive alcohol sensors designed to detect alcohol vapor in the ambient environment, giving authorities the power to immediately suspend or revoke driver’s licenses at the time of DWI and improvements in interlock compliance.