To Combat Drunk Driving Accidents National Transportation Safety Board Recommends Big Changes
On the anniversary of the worst drunk driving accident in the U.S., the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a series of recommendations aimed at significantly reducing the number of deaths caused by drunk driving accidents across the country. Included in the recommendation is changing the standard blood alcohol concentration levels from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.
On May 14, 1988, a drunk driving accident where a pick-up truck crashed into a school bus in Carrollton, Kentucky, killing 24 children and three adults and injuring another 30 people. The driver was drunk and driving the wrong way on the interstate. This year, on the 25th anniversary of that tragic drunk driving accident, the NTSB issued a report detailing a series of approaches the agency believes will drastically reduce the number of persons killed in alcohol related crashes.
One of the recommendations includes lowering the blood-alcohol concentration limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. This change would lower the amount of alcohol a person could drink and still legally drive by nearly half. According to CNN, under the .08 standard, an 180-pound man could drink about four drinks in sixty minutes before crossing the limit, while under the proposed standard, that same man could be over the limit after only two to three alcoholic drinks consumed in one hour. Of course, exactly how the new limit would affect those who consume alcoholic beverage would depend greatly on the height, weight, health, and history of the individual.
Other recommendations by the NTSB include –
- The immediate suspension or revocation of a driver’s license upon drunk driving arrest
- Mandatory ignition interlock devices installed on the vehicle of any person convicted of a drunk driving offense, prior to reinstatement of their driving license
- Implementing special courts specifically for drunk driving offenses
- Requiring law enforcement officers to record the place of the last drink by anyone arrested for drunk driving, as part as their investigations, for tracking purposes
- Utilizing more sobriety checkpoints and other high visibility enforcement efforts that include the use of passive alcohol sensors that ‘sniff’ alcohol vapors in the air
According to the NTSB, the number of alcohol related accidents has be decreasing over the last few decades, however the number of fatalities connected to those accidents has held steady at nearly 30 percent despite efforts to reduce them. However, the BAC recommendations are being questioned by some, including the Beer Institute, whose president told CNN that the way to get the best results is “by focusing on repeat offenders and increasing penalties on those with BAC of (0.15) or more,” instead of lowering BAC limits.
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