NTSB: Cut legal alcohol limit for driving in half

NTSB: Cut legal alcohol limit for driving in half

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A police officer conducts a sobriety test on a suspected DUI driver. (Source: San Bruno PD) A police officer conducts a sobriety test on a suspected DUI driver. (Source: San Bruno PD)

(RNN) – The federal agency responsible for travel safety investigations recommended Tuesday that all states lower the blood-alcohol content level for drunken driving.

The National Transportation Safety Board stated the current BAC level of .08 should be lowered to .05 in an effort to reduce the number of deaths in connection to impaired drivers. On average, 10,000 people are killed every year in alcohol-related collisions.

The Associated Press reported a woman 120 pounds or less can reach .05 after one drink. That threshold would require two drinks for a man who weighs 160 pounds or more.

The American Beverage Institute responded the recommendation was "ludicrous," according to USA Today. The group, which represents thousands of restaurants, stated the change would focus on responsible adults instead of binge drinkers who decide to drive.

The NTSB does not have the power to write or enforce new laws. The agency is charged by Congress "with investigating every civil aviation accident in the U.S. and significant accidents in other modes of transportation-railroad, highway, marine and pipeline," according to its website.

The board said the lower legal level has been adopted by more than 100 countries, and it would save as many as 800 lives per year in the U.S. Average deaths connected to drunken driving were cut in half in Europe in a span of 10 years.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) released a statement Tuesday expressing appreciation for the NTSB's efforts to reduce alcohol-related deaths. MADD advocates that "the safest course of action is not to drink and drive."

"As a mother whose child was killed by a drunk driver, the most important thing to me is preventing as many families as possible from suffering similar tragedies," said MADD National President Jan Withers.

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