UNITED STATES—The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced their recommendation that all states lower the blood alcohol threshold from .08 to .05, in an effort to lower alcohol related accidents throughout the country.
In a press releases issued on Tuesday, May 14, NTSB Chairman, Deborah A.P Hersman says, “Most Americans think that we’ve solved the problem of impaired driving, but in fact, it’s still a national epidemic.” She went on to state that over 100 countries on six different continents have set their blood alcohol level (BAL) limit at .05, and that the
United States should be no different.
United States nearly 10,000 people are killed from alcohol related crashes and 173,000 are injured each year. Although this number has declined since the late 80s, the proportion of deaths from accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver has remained at a constant 30 percent, according to the NTSB.
The board has recommended other laws to help reduce the number of alcohol related accidents, one of which is known as the administrative license suspension. By enacting this law, officers would be given the authority to immediately suspend a driver’s license at the time of a DWI arrest.
The NTSB has also urged all states to require ignition interlocks as research has shown that such measures decreases the likelihood of offenders to drive under the influence again, and would serve as deterrent for other drivers.
Although it has been reported that it is unlikely for states to approve the decrease in the BAL threshold, Hersman states that drivers with a BAL of .05 are at a much higher risk of being involved in a crash where someone is killed or injured, and therefore states should strongly consider this initiative.