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Should the drunk driving threshold be reduced to a BAC of .05?

It may surprise many Michigan residents to think that in some parts of the United States, the legal blood alcohol content was .15 back in the early 80's. Over 30 years later, the limit was reduced nationwide to .08 but that may not even be low enough according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB recently recommended that all 50 states change their BAC level to .05 in the hope of reducing the number of deaths linked to drunk driving. What could this mean if passed? The questions many people are asking is if the reduced limit will really decrease the number of fatalities or just increase the number of drunk driving charges?

The NTSB thinks they could save between 500 and 800 lives annually by reducing the drunk driving threshold to .05. Currently there are around 10,000 people are killed each year from alcohol-related crashes. America has one of the highest legal drinking ages and one of the highest legal BAC limits. More than 100 countries have BAC limits of .05 or lower. The NTSB also wants to mandate all drunk driving offenders with an ignition interlock system.

With 31 percent of all fatal highway crashes attributed to alcohol impairment, drunk driving is certainly a major issue in America. But it isn't clear whether this new threshold will make the roads safer. For the average woman, reaching .05 BAC occurs after just one drink, and for men, it's around two drinks. The average cost of a DUI conviction is very pricey and a lower limit could potentially mean a lot more money for the government since the number of DUI convictions will likely increase if the threshold is brought down.

As of now, there is no current action to reduce the current .08 BAC limit but this may change in the future. Michigan residents facing drunk driving charges are encouraged to seek legal protection. Often times a DUI charge can come with a variety of negative consequences that are very detrimental. An attorney may help defend most offenders.

Source: Michigan Chronicle, "Crack Down on Drunk Driving," May 15, 2013

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