Safety board suggests lowering drunken-driving limit


It can be a deadly combination: drinking and driving. A proposal from the National Transportation Safety Board is trying to put a stop to the crime, by lowering the drunken driving standard to a blood alcohol level of point .05 percent instead of .08 percent.

"Our goal is to get to zero deaths because each alcohol impaired death is preventable," said Chairman of the NTSB Debbie Hersman.

In Macon County, Sheriff Tom Schneider said in the past five years drunken driving numbers have gone down, so if the drunken driving limit is lowered, "clearly there are going to be a lot more people in violation of this law," he said.

But what was unclear: how impaired someone is at the .05 level.

"There will be people that will actually fall into the category where they are not impaired at a .05," Schneider said.

Depending on your weight, it may take just one to two drinks to hit .05 percent.

"It's not a one size fits all in reference to under the influence," the Sheriff said.

Kyle Lane of Decatur's Alpha & Omega Transit Network, Inc. said lowering the level is a good idea.

"The possibility of injuring yourself or someone else, I mean, that's definitely a cost you don't really want to weigh," he said.

And now changing the legal limit of drunken driving is a decision states will weigh.

If these changes were to go into effect, the NTSB said 1,000 lives could be saved each year.

The last time the blood alcohol level limits were reduced from .10 to .08. percent, it took 21 years for all states to implement the change.

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