May 282013

With roadway deaths on the rise for the first time in several years, federal safety officials are calling for a substantial drop in the blood-alcohol level used to determine drunk drivers. 

But despite the national epidemic of drunk driving deaths and widespread public awareness of the issue, some interest groups and lawmakers are vigorously fighting the proposed changes, which have no legal weight until acted on by Congress or individual states. Some in the beverage industry say the recommended federal reforms are “ludicrous” because stricter blood-alcohol limits could cut down on their business.

Meeting earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a call to lower the current national blood-alcohol standard of .08 to a stricter limit of .05. The NTSB noted that the United States lags behind most other developed countries in combating drunk driving.

States should lower the definition of drunken driving to a blood-alcohol reading of no more than .05 percent, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesdayy, saying the U.S. is too tolerant of impairment behind the wheel.

The safety board at a hearing in Washington said the U.S. is behind other countries, including most of Europe, in having a threshold for drunken driving of .08 in all 50 U.S. states.

The risk of a crash at a .05 reading is half what it is at .08, the board said.

“It’s frustrating that with the education and advocacy, with laws and enforcement and with the many processes set up to deal with the problem of drinking and driving, that we are still seeing so many lives lost,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said at the hearing.

About one-third of U.S. traffic deaths are related to alcohol, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

Though any federal agency’s recommendations on tightening drunk-driving standards are not binding and don’t represent any official policy, groups with an interest in preserving the current national blood-alcohol law have launched an aggressive campaign to oppose any sweeping changes.


  3 Responses to “Lobbyists, Lawmakers Push For More Lenient Drunk Driving Laws”

  1. I’m confused to whom the italicized parts of the article are attributed to. While there is content that is in quotes and attributed to a person, the preceding paragraphs are not attributed. I can only assume it is commentary and totally irrelevant to the topic. Especially irrelevant as there is no attribution. Playing your audience always end badly.

    • Danny —

      Thanks for your comment. The italicized blocks of quotes are sourced from articles or sites that we properly attribute and direct readers to in the form of hyperlinked text located above the content in question.

      In the case of particularly high-profile or exclusive stories, we will specifically mention the media organization by name. This is actually a fairly standard practice among blogs and news sites.

      Hope this allays your concerns.

  2. Tis the temperance movement back again and prohibition soon to follow…

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