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The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all states lower the blood alcohol level that constitutes drunk driving.
NBC News reports that currently, all 50 states have set a BAC level of .08, reflecting the percentage of alcohol, by volume, in the blood. If a driver is found to have a BAC level of .08 or above, he or she is subject to arrest and prosecution.
The NTSB recommends dropping that to a BAC level of .05. Will it improve driver safety and reduce alcohol consumption? They're betting it will.
Each year, nearly 10,000 people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents and 170,000 are injured, according to the NTSB. While that’s a big improvement from the 20,000 who died in alcohol-related accidents 30 years ago, it remains a consistent threat to public safety.
NBC cites studies saying that each year, roughly 4 million people admit to driving while under the influence of alcohol.
As you would expect, the NTSB recommendation prompted cries of indignation from restaurant trade groups.
"This recommendation is ludicrous," said Sarah Longwell, managing director of American Beverage Institute. "Moving from 0.08 to 0.05 would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior.
Realistically, enjoying a beverage with a meal can be perfectly responsible, but in too many instances, that enjoyment compromises one's driving ability. And, even if only for a moment, while we're all sharing the same roads, if you're behind the wheel of a motor vehicle that's too much risk to ask a society to accept and incur.