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NTSB suggests lowering drunk driving threshold

As our Denver readers may have heard, the National Transportation Safety Board has urged states to reduce their threshold for drunken driving by nearly half, from .08 percent blood alcohol content to .05.  The .05 standard would match that used in other countries, with the goal of reducing fatal car accidents.

Over 100 countries have adopted the .05 standard, or even lower with consequent reduction in the number of drunken driving deaths, more than half experience the improvement within 10 years of the change. Colorado law already forbids driving at .05 or more, and permits officers to charge offenders with driving while ability impaired. The driving under the influence law sets the threshold at .08. 

According to a study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, roughly 7,082 lives would have been saved in 2010 if all drivers had blood alcohol levels below .08.

In addition to the reduced blood alcohol level, the National Transportation Safety Board made nearly 20 other recommendations, including the mandatory use of ignition interlock devices for drunk drivers.

Although the proposal could save lives, it is likely to meet opposition from states, though members of Colorado's craft-beer industry are fairly confident that their businesses will be able to handle the change without difficulty.  

Regardless of what happens with the proposal at the legislative level, those who are harmed by drunk drivers still have to deal with the resulting physical, mental, and property damage. This can be quite costly and painful, and it helps to have a strong advocate to help one make the best recovery possible.

Source:, "Colorado craft brewers concerned about stricter drunken-driving proposal," Eric Gorski, May 15, 2013. 

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