A Proposed Change to the Legal BAC Level - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

A Proposed Change to the Legal BAC Level

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The National Transportation Safety Board announced that it is proposing to lower the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers from .08 to .05.  The announcement came on the 25th anniversary of the deadliest alcohol related crash in American history.

In 1988, a driver, who was under the influence of alcohol, drove in the wrong direction on Interstate 71 near Carrollton, Kentucky.  The vehicle collided with a school bus causing it to burst into flames.  The crash killed 24 children and three adults and 34 other passengers were injured.

In 1982, almost half of all highway deaths were related to alcohol but, in 1995, that statistic was reduced.  It has not decreased any further since then.

The NTSB said that, if every state agreed to lower the blood alcohol limit to .05, 1000 lives could be saved annually.  The board also recommended the installation of ignition interlocks for drunken driving offenders.

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

However, the last time the blood alcohol level limits were reduced was an extensive process.  It took the entire country 21 years to implement the change from .10 to .08 in all of the states.

We asked our Facebook followers to share their opinions with us.  47 people "liked" our post and 28 people commented on it.  The responses ranged from "lower the limit and have stiffer punishments" to "lowering the BAC will target responsible people."    

According to Indiana State Police, a driver can usually have one drink without surpassing the newly proposed limit but, if a driver has two or three drinks, he is risking both his safety and the safety of others on the road.  The NTSB reports that some drivers with a BAC of .05 experience difficulties with their depth perception and their other visual functions. 

"We know from experience that there are drivers out there who are impaired below .08," said Sergeant Todd Ringle.  "As a matter of fact, on a regular basis, we stop drivers for driving left of center or for weaving and, when we investigate further, they have a BAC below .08."

If you would like to join in this conversation regarding the legal blood alcohol limit, please visit our Facebook page.

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