Agency recommends lowering blood-alcohol limit to reduce traffic deaths

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — After the release of a recent study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommended the legal limit on blood-alcohol concentration (or content) be lowered, to cut down on motor vehicle deaths.

The current BAC in 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, is set at .08.

After 9,967 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2014, the NTSB recommended that the BAC limit be lowered to .05.

“The NTSB has recommended lowering the legal limit on blood-alcohol content to .05 to reduce deaths and injuries on highways. However, drugs other than alcohol can also impair drivers and operators of other types of vehicles – whether these drugs are recreational, over-the-counter, or prescription,” the study stated, according to  WFSB.

NTSB officials stated that 6,391 drivers, or 64 percent, had a BAC of .08 or higher, in fatal crashes. When the data that 1,511 passengers riding with drivers had a BAC of .08 or higher, the number of total fatalities went up to 79%.

In Connecticut, the 2014 study showed that there were 248 fatal crashes in the state.

The study determined that the driver in 97 of those crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher, while there were 63 crashes where the driver had a BAC of .15 or higher.

In retrospect, the study determined that the driver in 135 of those fatal crashes had a BAC of .00.

“Anything that we can do in CT to make the roads safer, I’m all for it,” said Suzanne Spina.

These alcohol impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving didn’t say what its stand on this is, but said they have worked with numerous police departments to cut down on drunk driving, and said in a statement; “We feel strongly that the work we are doing now, like supporting sobriety checkpoints and court-ordered interlock devices put on vehicles are programs that are going to continue to decrease the number of fatalities.”

The Connecticut Restaurant Association said they are concerned about drunk driving, but said they are not in favor of the change, and said in a statement “Measures addressing this issue should be focused on repeat, chronic offenders who drink excessively, then drive — and not the consumers that enjoy an adult beverage in a responsible manner with their meal.”

States would have to adopt the change for it to take effect.