NTSB recommends lowering legal BAC from .08 to .05

Credit: (AP Photo/NTSB)

This photo taken Sept. 24, 2011, provided by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), shows a post accident view of the vehicles from the Fountain, Colo. wrong-way collision. Hundreds of people are killed each a year when drivers turn the wrong-way into the face of oncoming traffic on high-speed highways, and a majority of the crashes involves drivers with blood alcohol levels more than twice the legal limit, a federal accident researcher said Tuesday.


by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC


Posted on May 14, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 19 at 3:14 PM

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. -- In Mecklenburg County hundreds of drunk drivers are caught every year, some of them at checkpoints.

"You put a lot of work into it; you have to do these tests, put your life at risk on the side of the road," said Trooper Matthew Heon.

Nationally, drunk driving claims 10,000 lives a year; for that reason the National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday afternoon that states lower the blood alcohol level from .08 to 05.

"Our goal is to get to zero deaths, because each alcohol impaired death is preventable; no one should ever have to experience that knock on the door," said NTSB Chairperson Debbie Hersman.

While a lower level might result in more arrests, Trooper Heon believes the real difference will occur at court.

"To us, they are still impaired but when they get to court, the court system looks at it .08 is the legal limit; anything under that they pretty much dismiss it," said the Trooper.

We talked to some casual drinkers in the University area who say the change, if it comes, would make them think more about their consumption.

"Does that mean I can have one glass or is that one glass too many? Is two glasses too many? It's an open question," said Lane Harrison, a UNCC Grad Student.

It took almost 20 years for all the states to adopt a .08 standard from .10