NTSB suggests lower legal blood alcohol limit for drivers

CBS 42

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The National Transportation Safety Board wants to lower the legal blood alcohol content for drivers from .08 to .05 nationwide.

If that sounds like a small change, the NTSB thinks it could make a big difference on driver safety.  The board is pushing states to adopt the stricter guidelines nationwide.

The NTSB report says laboratory studies have shown that a blood alcohol level as low as .01 can degrade driving performance and studies involving crash data have shown a significantly higher crash risk at levels near .05.

Some business owners believe lowering the BAC limit could hurt them in a big way.

“There’s a lot of people in the state who feel comfortable going out to dinner and enjoying a glass of wine or a pint of beer with their meal and driving home with the peace of mind that they’re well under the acceptable alcohol limit for operating a motor vehicle and the challenge that’s presented by this piece of legislation is – is now you’ve drawn that into question which means people may not feel as comfortable about having a single drink at dinner,” said Jason Wilson, Founder and President of Back Forty Beer Company and President of the Alabama Brewer’s Guild.

“I would see it as a direct limitation of what we could sell from our standpoint. We would be limited to a certain number per customer. Or at least a lower number,” said Jake Hill, General Manager at On Tap Lakeview. “Now they have everything spaced out as a glass of wine one beer, one liquor drink, one shot is the same and you know you would have to drop that down.”

“They kind of give you guidelines, but it’s hard to tell per person. Everybody is on an individual basis. So but it would definitely drop the number of serving that we could give to people,” said Hill.

A blog on the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website says that organization will continue to focus on proven drunk driving prevention efforts.

MADD is backing different campaign initiatives including high visibility law enforcement, mandatory ignition locks for convicted drunk drivers and the development of high tech options like cars that can detect alcohol.

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