NTSB Wants to Drop Drunk-Driving Limit to .05%

Regulator thinks legal blood alcohol content should be 0.05%

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 14, 2013 12:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – How much can you legally drink before getting in a car? The National Transportation Safety Board thinks the answer right now is "too much," so this morning it voted to lower its recommended legal blood alcohol content limit for drivers from 0.08% to 0.05%, ABC News reports. Most industrialized nations already adhere to the 0.05% standard, one NTSB member says, adding, "We are behind the world." The board is also recommending more stringent penalties for first-time drunk drivers and better police technology, like alcohol-sniffing flashlights.

Individual states will actually have to enact the recommendation, which might take some doing; it took more than 20 years to drop the limit from 0.15% to 0.08%, with the last state conceding in 2004. The change would mean that a 180-pound man could only have two or three drinks in an hour instead of four, by CNN's calculations. The NTSB says that would save 500 to 800 lives a year. But the American Beverage Institute called the proposed change "ludicrous," saying it would "criminalize perfectly responsible behavior."

If the NTSB gets its way, you'll have to be even more careful about drinking before you get behind the wheel.
If the NTSB gets its way, you'll have to be even more careful about drinking before you get behind the wheel.   (Shutterstock)
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