National Transportation Safety Board Recommends Lowering Legal BAC Limit

Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a national recommendation for states to lower their legal blood alcohol content threshold for drinking and operating motor vehicles. In an attempt to reduce drunk driving in the United States, the NTSB voted to urge all 50 states to lower their legal BAC limit from the current limit of .08 percent to .05 percent.

Although not an authoritative agency, the NTSB uses investigative reports to make recommendations to the nation and the Department of Transportation. The NTSB also urged states to toughen up laws that will allow police officers to more easily impound the driving licenses of drivers who are under the influence.

On average, almost 10,000 people die every year in the United States in traffic accidents where alcohol is involved—and an additional 170,000 people are injured annually.

While these numbers show a marked progress from 30 years ago—where 20,000 people were killed in DUI traffic accidents—many say the problem is still too great and more drastic measures should be taken. The NTSB says these tougher restrictions would help make the nation’s roads safer, as the adverse effects of alcohol are already evident for many drivers with a .05 percent BAC. According to a report on NBC News, the NTSB claims these more stringent requirements would save almost 1,000 lives every year.

Others say that the new recommendation is ridiculous and would improperly penalize safe and responsible drivers. The last time that the BAC was lowered back in the 1980’s (from .1 percent—and in some states .15 percent—to .08 percent), it was 24 years before all of the states in the country adapted the law. The last state to do so changed their laws in 2004, according to a CNN article (

The United States currently has one of the world’s highest legal BAC limits for drivers. Many countries, including Russia and South America, have laws in place that state a BAC of anywhere above .05 percent is illegal while operating a moving vehicle. After Australia lowered the legal limit to .05 percent (formerly .08 percent), traffic fatalities in the nation’s provinces dropped by 5 to 18 percent.

If you’ve been charged with DUI, then don’t hesitate to contact a Southern California DUI attorney at my firm. We know how tough current DUI laws can be, and we are prepared to work tirelessly to protect you from a conviction.

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