The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended today that states lower the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level while driving from .08% to .05% or lower.
The reduced limit is one of a series of recommendations unanimously approved by the five members of the NTSB board.
In 2011, 9,878 people were killed in car crashes related to impaired driving. That’s a 53% drop in since 1982, but the NTSB says efforts to further reduce deaths have stalled over the past two decades.
The .08 limit used throughout the United States is among the highest in the world. Most European, Asian, and South American countries enforce a limit of .05 or less.
“Levels higher than .05 are viewed by respected traffic safety and public health organisations around the world as posing unacceptable risk for driving,” the NTSB wrote in its report.
Other recommended changes include more high-visibility enforcement of existing laws, in-vehicle technology to detect impaired driving, and targeting repeat offenders.
The NTSB board also called for all offenders to be forced to use ignition interlocks, which require the driver to pass a blood alcohol breathalyzer test before the car can be started.
Included in the NTSB news release was a map of BAC limits around the world:
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