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NTSB Steadfast In Support Of Lower BAC Limit

The McClellan Law Firm

At what point does alcohol consumption make a person an unsafe driver? Three decades ago, the legal limit for driving drunk in most states was set at a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10%. Today, a blood alcohol content of 0.08% is the legal limit for drivers over 21 years of age in all 50 states. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is pushing for even more drastic reform in order to help prevent the deaths and injuries that occur as a result of drunk driving accidents in the United States.

New Recommendations from the NTSA Push for a BAC of 0.05%

In an effort to reduce traffic fatalities caused by alcohol, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is recommending that states lower the BAC limit even further to 0.05%. The NTSB made this recommendation unanimously in May of this year (2013). Since that time, no state has made any move to comply with the suggested limit.

In addition, many safety groups that might be considered natural allies for such a reduction have remained unmoved, failing to endorse the lower BAC limit or to encourage states to adopt the stricter policy. This has not deterred the NTSB or its chair, Deborah Hersman, who believe that the move would create a safer environment for American roadways. Despite the criticism, the group continues to push the tougher drunk driving threshold.

Is a Lower Legal Limit a Good Idea?

More than 100 countries worldwide have adopted 0.05% BAC as the legal limit for drinking and driving. However, the NTSB clearly has more work to do if it hopes to have the United States join their ranks. In describing the response to the NTSB recommendation, Ms. Hersman called it a “firestorm of criticism.” The American Beverage Institute was among the most vocal groups to oppose the switch; calling the lower threshold “ludicrous” and saying it would serve as a means of “criminalizing perfectly responsible behavior.”

Criticism aside, it may be the lack of support from traditional allies such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving that makes adoption of the lower standard a long shot. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declined to endorse the lower limit. Likewise, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association have failed to support the reduction.

Some believe the reduction may be too extreme. Studies suggest that a woman weighing 120 pounds or less can reach a BAC of 0.05% after just one drink. For a male weighing 160 pounds or less, this limit could be reached after two drinks. At those levels, a reduced BAC limit could be described as a law against having a drink and driving, rather than a law against drunk driving. It is not clear if states will be able to garner public support for such a measure.

Speak with a San Diego Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer

At The McClellan Law Firm, we do believe in fighting for our clients’ rights to receive compensation after an injury. We handle cases involving drunk driving accidents regularly. As such, we are in a unique position to see the pain and suffering caused by drunk driving. Taking reasonable measures to curb dangerous behavior and to protect motorists and passengers is important. We encourage our clients to reach out for legal help if they were injured in any kind of vehicular accident.

For your free case evaluation with The McClellan Law Firm, please call our office today.