US officials recommend lowering drunken driving threshold to .05 blood alcohol to save lives

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There are a wide variety of things a person should never do when intoxicated. At the top of the list is driving. Drunk driving can cause a considerable amount of harm, as such conduct can result in serious motor vehicle accidents  occurring
 
A decade-old benchmark for determining when a driver is legally drunk should be lowered in an effort to reduce alcohol-related car crashes that claim about 10,000 lives each year, U.S. safety investigators said on Tuesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all 50 states lower the threshold from 0.08 blood-alcohol content (BAC) to 0.05.  The idea is part of a safety board initiative outlined in a staff report and approved by the panel to eliminate drunk driving, which accounts for about a third of all road deaths.

 
 New approaches are needed to combat drunken driving, which claims the lives of more than a third of the 30,000 people killed each year on U.S highways ” a level of carnage that that has remained stubbornly consistent for the past decade and a half, the board said.
 
The lower alcohol content threshold was one of nearly 20 recommendations aimed at reducing drunken driving made by the board, including that states adopt measures to ensure more widespread use of use of alcohol ignition interlock devices. Those require a driver to breathe into a tube, much like the breathalyzers police ask suspected drunken drivers to use.  The board has previously recommended states require all convicted drunken drivers install the interlock devices in their vehicles as a condition to resume driving. Currently, 17 states and two California counties require all convicted drivers use the devices.However, only about a quarter of drivers ordered to use the devices actually end up doing so, NTSB said. Drivers use a variety of ways to evade using the devices, including claiming they won’t drive at all or don’t own a vehicle and therefore don’t need the devices, staff said.

The board recommended the National Highway Safety Administration, which makes safety grants to states, develop a program to encourage states to ensure all convicted drivers actually use the devices. The board also recommended that all suspected drunken drivers whose licenses are confiscated by police be required to install interlocks as a condition of getting their licenses reinstated even though they haven’t yet been convicted of a crime.  Courts usually require drivers to pay for the devices, which cost about $50 to $100 to buy plus a $50 a month fee to operate, staff said.
 

 
Studies show more than 4 million people a year in the U.S. drive while intoxicated, but about half of the intoxicated drivers stopped by police escape detection, the NTSB report said. The board made several recommendations aimed at increasing both the visibility and effectiveness of police enforcement, including expanded use of passive alcohol devices. The devices are often contained in real flash lights or shaped to look like a cellphone that officers wear on their shirt pockets or belts. If an officer points the flashlight at a driver or the cellphone-like device comes in close proximity to an intoxicated driver, the devices will alert police who may not have any other reason to suspected drunken driving.
 
 Today, drunken driving claims about 10,000 lives a year.
 
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, or you have recently lost a loved one, contact Edwards & Ragatz today for the injury attorney you need on your side. We will either help you file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit depending on the incident you and your family have suffered. No person deserves to lose their life or be injured by a drunk driver, and we will do whatever we can to help you seek the compensation that is rightfully yours. Do not hesitate in taking legal action, contact our firm today for more information on how we can legally help you

 
Sources: 
CNN.com: NTSB Proposes tougher blood alcohol limits

ABCnews.com: NTSB proposes tougher alcohol limits for drivers 

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