Recent Recommendations In Drunk Driving Laws

Tougher Drunk Driving LawsJust recently, the federal accident investigators are considering the recommendation of reducing the threshold for drunk driving from .08 blood alcohol content to .05. This significant change in drunk driving laws has already showed great improvement in the reduction of highway accidents and deaths in several countries.

Lowering the threshold is recognized as one of the recommendations made by the staff of National Transportation Safety Board in order to minimize drunken driving. This was presented in one of the board’s meetings.

According to the officials, the creation of new approaches is necessary in order to reduce the incidence of drunk driving in the United States, which has already claimed thousands of people’s lives. This pushed the board to make new recommendations to put a halt to this unfortunate reality.

According to the NTSB Chairman, Ms. Deborah Hersman, it is their goal to get zero deaths from drunken driving since an alcohol-impaired death is always preventable. The NTSB also does not consider alcohol-impaired deaths as accidents, but crimes. Hersman emphasized that people only need the will since the tools are already available.

This change was also proven when a dramatic progress was noted in the 1980s up to the mid 1990s when the minimum of drinking age was elevated to 21 and the legally allowed maximum level of blood alcohol content among drivers was reduced to .08. Nowadays, the average number of casualties per year from drunken driving is around 10,000, which is down from 18,000 in 1982.

Unfortunately, the progress in cutting the rate has stagnated, which motivated the NTSB members to come up with a new approach. This opened the doors to technology, which pushed the anti-drunken driving forces to involve cars as part of the solution

Last December, the board contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and as well as the auto industry to further enhance their research in using a technology that can detect the driver’s blood alcohol level without the need of using a tube or a breather device to monitor the driver’s condition. This technology would be effective since it prevents drunk drivers to start the engine of their cars.

Nevertheless, it is sad to know that coming up with such technology is still years away from now. According to some researchers, it is necessary to have a combination of approaches in order to effectively reduce or minimize fatalities. They mentioned that reducing the blood alcohol limit to .08 could potentially save more than 7,000 lives. This is an estimate made by the Highway Safety Administration.

One particular country that has exhibited positive results from this change is Australia. In fact, the alcohol-related deaths in the country were reduced by 12 percent as soon as the blood content limit was reduced to .05. In Europe, several countries have already reduced their limit to .05 as well, while others have even further pushed the threshold to .02.

A woman who weighs 120 pounds can already reach the .05 limit with just a single drink while a man weighing 160 pounds can reach .05 after only two drinks.

Another recommendation made by the researchers is the expansion of the use of alcohol ignition interlock devices to drivers who were already convicted of driving under the influence. This device is similar to breathalyzers where suspects of drunken driving are asked to breathe into a tube.

Aside from these, expanded use of visibility checkpoints by the police is also highly recommended.

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