The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 15, 2013

Don't rush to change limit


Commercial-News

DANVILLE — The National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday states should lower the legal blood alcohol content limit for drivers from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.

A man weighing about 160 might be able to have two drinks — with a drink defined as a 12-ounce beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine or 1 ounce of 80 proof liquor — and not exceed the 0.05 percent standard.

The NTSB’s recommendation appears a bit too strict.

No one advocates for people to drink and drive. But the existing 0.08 percent blood alcohol content limit works well and has played a significant role in reducing the number of traffic deaths related to alcohol.

If the NTSB’s recommendation is accepted, Vermilion County residents who enjoy a drink on their way home from work or a glass of wine with their dinner could run the risk of a DUI arrest. And that could bring with it higher insurance costs and even the loss of a job.

Other nations use the 0.05 percent limit, according to The Associated Press, with success. Alcohol-related crashes account for as much as a third of the 30,000 traffic deaths in the United States each year.

We have to wonder, however, how many of those serious crashes involve drivers who exceed even the 0.08 percent standard.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving declined to endorse the recommendation, recognizing the lower standard won’t help that much.

The education campaign warning drivers about the dangers of driving while impaired and about the benefits of using a designated driver are working. Leave the blood alcohol standard alone.