The National Transportation Safety Board recommended May 14 that a decade-old benchmark for determining drunkenness should be lowered in all 50 states in an effort to reduce drunk-driving deaths. United States Safety Investigators recommended that the threshold be lowered from .08 to .05 to determine when a driver is drunk. This is part of a plan to eliminate drunk driving, which accounts for almost one-third of all deaths on the road.
The safety board suggests that lowering the rate to .05 would save at least 500 lives each year. The board also suggested that states should allow police to swiftly confiscate licenses from drivers who exceed blood alcohol limits.
According to the NTSB, even very low levels of alcohol in the blood impair driving abilities. The board also recommended more widespread use of passive alcohol sensors which police can use to sniff the air to determine if alcohol is present during a traffic stop.
The National Transportation Safety Board timed its recommendation to go along with the anniversary of the deadliest alcohol-related crash in United States history. On May 14, 1988, a drunk driver drove his truck into a school bus and killed 24 children and three adults and injured several others.
Source: CNN, “U.S. Safety Board Proposes Tougher Drunk-Driving Threshold,” Mike M. Ahlers, Mary 14, 2013