NTSB again calls for lowering legal drinking limit

A previous post on this blog talked about an emerging movement to lower the legal blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05. As that post discussed, there is considerable scientific evidence that even a driver operating at .05 BAC is potentially dangerous.

Now, the federal National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, has again recommended that states take up the baton on this movement and consider changing their laws to allow police to make drunk driving arrests more easily once a motorist’s blood alcohol content exceeds .05.

This recommendation comes as part of the NTSB’s Most Wanted list of transportation safety improvements. In making the recommendation, the NTSB pointed out that, on major highways alone, there were close to 11,000 fatalities across the country blamed on drunk driving. The NTSB believes that a lower legal limit will serve to help police and others reduce this number.

The NTSB had other safety recommendations as well. For instance, it recommended that police make greater use of cameras and other technology in order to better enforce speed limits.

Interestingly, with regard to fatigued driving, the NTSB also expressed concern that a number of commercial drivers may be experiencing undiagnosed sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition which can cause even a driver who had 8 or more hours asleep to feel significant fatigue.

Turning back to the call for tougher drunk driving standards, however, the NTSB has again reinforced what our blog has said several times. Specifically, .08 BAC is not a magic number but just one indication of drunkenness. Regardless of their BAC, anyone who is too drunk to drive safely yet causes an accident can be held accountable.

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