New Jersey has the chance to lead U.S. on drunken driving safety
For a BAC level of 0.08 percent, a man weighing 180 pounds needs to take 6 drinks in 3 hours. The BAC level of a man gets to 0.05 percent when he finishes his 5th drink. The legal limit for driving in many states is 0.08 percent, but it is recommended to lower that limit to 0.05 percent. So, a person can only take 5 drinks instead of 6.
The proposal of lowering this legal driving limit from 0.08 to 0.05 is one of the several recommendations which include making installation of ignition interlock devices for 1st time offenders and immediate license suspensions. Last week, NTBS called for the lowered limit.
Every year, 10,000 people are killed on U.S. highways due to driving while intoxicated. In 1982, when the crackdown began on drunk driving, the number of deaths that occurred due to alcohol involved accidents were 21,000. So, the number of fatalities and alcohol-related accidents decreased from that time.
According to the NTSB, 0.05 percent BAC level affects the driving and thinking ability of a person. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that in 2010, the number of deaths that could have been avoided is 7,000 if all drivers had less than 0.08 BAC.
Deborah Hersman, NTSB Chairman said, “Our goal is to get to zero deaths because each alcohol-impaired death is preventable. Alcohol-impaired deaths are not accidents, they are crimes. They can and should be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will”.
According to a report by the board’s staff, more than 100 nations draw the line at 0.05. The report shows that the number of deaths caused by drunk driving decreased by more than half within 10 years after the standard was dropped in Europe.
By the time a casual drinker gets to 0.08 percent, he is already impaired with affected drinking and driving ability. Driving a motor vehicle with a BAC level of 0.08 percent is dangerous and deadly. At 0.05 percent BAC level, a person is 38% more likely to be involved in an accident than when he/she is sober and at 0.08, the percentage rises to 169%.
If 0.05% BAC level is set as a legal driving limit, it can decrease alcohol-related fatalities by 70%. The 0.05 limit is bound to become law.
In 2004, New Jersey adopted the feds’ 0.08 threshold but now it has the chance to lead, instead of follow.