The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all 50 states lower their DUI limit from 0.08 to 0.05 percent, which would result in an estimated 500 to 800 fewer drunk driving deaths.
The 0.08 percent driving limit has been in place for 10 years. The death toll of drunk driving accidents is plateauing around 10,000 a year.
Staff at NTSB believe lowering it by 0.03 percent would result in more lives saved.
They also recommend making stricter consequences for when a person is charged with a DUI. They want all states to confiscate licenses from drivers who exceed the blood alcohol limit, and also want to require all first-time offenders to have ignition locking devices on their cars when they begin driving again. These devices require the driver to breathe into them before they can start the engine, to ensure they are not drunk.
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Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairman, said lowering the DUI limit to 0.05 lowers the risk of a crash by half.
"This is critical because impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers in the United States. To make a bold difference will require bold action. But it can be done," she said.
The American Beverage Institute has criticized the report. The ABI is a trade group which represents 8,000 restaurants. It said that the report does not focus on moderate drinkers, which are significantly more dangerous than light drinkers.
"This recommendation is ludicrous. Further restricting the moderate consumption of alcohol by responsible adults prior to driving does nothing to stop hard-core drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel," Sarah Longwell, the institute's managing director, said.
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A woman who drinks one drink can reach a 0.05 percent blood alcohol content. But more than 80 percent of drunk driving fatalities involve a driver who has a blood alcohol content of more than 0.15 percent.
Though the NTSB does not have the power to make laws or change them, they can make recommendations about them.