The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that roughly 10,000
people die every year in alcohol-related car accidents. The NTSB is an
independent federal agency that investigates major accidents, from aviation
accidents to certain highway accidents, and the agency has made it its
goal to eliminate traffic deaths from drunk driving.
Toward that end, the NTSB recommends the following changes, on a national
DUI/DWI law. These include lowering the blood alcohol content limit from 0.08
to 0.05, making the ignition interlock device a requirement for everyone
convicted of drunk driving (even first-timers), establishing more DUI
checkpoints, and using DUI-specific courts.
When the NTSB makes recommendations, state governments and agencies often
listen. While the NTSB does not have rule-making authority on its own,
its recommendations hold considerable weight, and it’s fairly likely
that there will be some changes to DUI/DWI law as a result of the NTSB’s
push to eliminate drunk-driving deaths.
Mike Ahlers, reporting for CNN, quotes NTSB head Deborah Hersman:
“Most Americans think that we’ve solved the problem of impaired
driving, but in fact, it’s still a national epidemic.”
We’re not quite sure why Hersman says most Americans think we’ve
“solved” drunk driving, as anyone arrested for DUI/DWI can
attest. There are plenty of cops on the road who are eager to pull people
over for the offense. And one thing is certain: If the BAC limit goes
to 0.05, there will be even more people caught in the dragnet, even if
they’ve had very little to drink.