Every year 10,000 people die from alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents and 170,000 sustain at least some form of serious injury. These pressing statistics should compel us as a nation, to take action toward lowering them over the next decade.
Currently, the legal blood alcohol content while operating a motor vehicle in the United States is 0.08. Federal government agencies are beginning to take the steps to lower the threshold to 0.05, but not without a fight from bar and restaurant owners who disagree.
When a driver is pulled over, and blows a reading of a .08 or more, they are subject to arrest and concurrently charged in court. Experience in other countries suggests that dropping the legal limit to .05 could potentially reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road and in turn reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents that happen all too frequently.
Some countries have already taken the initiative on this new idea, including Australia, which saw a nearly 16% drop in motor vehicle accident fatalities. Studies show that when drivers are at .05% blood alcohol content the chances of an accident go up by 39%, and when they reach 0.08, this number is closer to 100%.
The NTSB is an independent federal agency, who is working to reduce this number and advocate safer driving and transportation across the country. In the end, this new legal limit would need to be accepted by each state in the attempt to reduce the number of fatal incidents.