The top U.S. transportation safety agency proposed this week to lower the blood alcohol limit for drivers in all 50 states as a way to advance its campaign to cut down on DUI deaths through a severer definition of impairment.
On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board voted for state authorities to reduce the legal limit by nearly 40 percent to 0.05 percent. Currently, all 50 U.S. states have a blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 percent for drivers 21 and over. Younger drivers are held to stricter standards.
While the NTSB has no authority to change state laws in Florida, it could add increased pressure on regulators to adopt this proposed rule.
The NTSB recently launched a "Reaching Zero" campaign to help reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents on the roadways and to raise public awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.
According to the NTSB, drunk driving causes nearly 10,000 deaths every year in the United States. This number accounts for 30 percent of all U.S. highway deaths annually. In a 2011 survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it was concluded that more than 14 percent of U.S. drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel of a car when they thought they were close to or over the legal limit.
The NTSB estimates that if the limit were lowered to .05, around 500 to 800 lives would be saved every year.
So, just how would this new law translate to you? As of now, if a 180 pound male consumed four drinks within an hour his BAC would reach .08 percent, the legal limit. A .05 BAC would be reached over the span of an hour and two to three alcoholic beverages. A person's BAC is determined by gender, body weight and mass. Statistics show that many drivers start to feel the effects of alcohol when their BAC reaches .05 percent. However, the American Beverage Institute begs to differ, claiming that the average woman reaches a BAC of .05 percent after consuming just one alcoholic drink.
This proposed law would certainly be a drastic change to the Florida DUI laws already set in place. Only time will tell if this law will be pushed through.