Drunk driving is a terrible problem in America, where about 10,000 people die every year in alcohol – related crashes. Drunk driving is currently accounts for about a third of all road deaths in the United States.  Are the states doing enough to prevent this significant loss of life?  The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent governmental body which investigates transportation accidents and advocates on safety issues, is weighing in on the subject. While the NTSB is influential in matters of public safety, it cannot impose its will through regulation and can only recommend changes on the state and federal level, and it has issued a new recommendation, with the goal of ending drunk driving in the United States.

The NTSB recently recommended that all 50 states adopt a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent, compared to the current 0.08 standard currently in place. This standard has been in use in all 50 states since 2004, and alcohol related highway fatalities have fallen over that same time period.  A normal sized male (180 pounds) will reach the current 0.08 standard after four drinks over an hour, according to online blood alcohol calculators. That same individual would reach the 0.05 threshold after two or three drinks over the same period. The NTSB is also advocating for laws requiring all first-time offenders to have ignition locking devices that prevent cars from starting until birth samples are analyzed, and is also championing laws allowing police to confiscate a motorist’s license at the time of arrest if the driver’s BAC exceeds the limit. 40 states are already using this administrative confiscation tool, which the NTSB believes is effective.

The NTSB cited research showing that most drivers experience a decline in cognitive and visual functions with a BAC of 0.05 percent. More than 100 countries on six continents have BAC limits set at 0.05 or lower, the board notes. Not surprisingly, restaurant trade associations have responded negatively to this suggestion, saying that the average woman reaches 0.05% BAC after consuming one drink.

Stark & Stark supports any reasonable and constitutional solution to the scourge of drunk driving. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of the conduct of a drunk driver, contact a Stark & Stark attorney, who will vigorously and zealously prosecute your claim for money damages against the offending driver.