There will be many more drunk driving arrests in Michigan if a recommendation from federal safety officials takes effect.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that the blood alcohol limit for drunken driving be reduced to .05 percent nationwide. Presently the limit is .08 percent in Michigan and all other states.
“Most Americans think that we’ve solved the problem of impaired driving, but in fact, it’s still a national epidemic,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a news release. “On average, every hour one person is killed and 20 more are injured.”
More than 100 countries on six continents have blood alcohol limits of 0.05 or lower.
The NTSB cited research showing that although impairment begins with the first drink, by the time the blood alcohol level is 0.05 most drivers experience a drop in cognitive and visual functions. This significantly increases the risk of a serious crash.
“The research clearly shows that drivers with a BAC above 0.05 are impaired and at a significantly greater risk of being involved in a crash where someone is killed or injured,” said Hersman.
Crackdown on Drunk Drivers
Each year in the U.S., nearly 10,000 people are killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. More than 173,000 are injured, with 27,000 of these injuries classified as “incapacitating.”
Total highway deaths have fallen since the mid-1990s, but the proportion of deaths from accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver has remained constant at around 30 percent.
Lowering the BAC limit is only one of a number of steps the NTSB is urging Michigan and other states to take to eliminate alcohol-impaired driving crashes.
- Stiffer DUI laws
- Swifter prosecution of DUI offenders
- Expanded use of technology to target and catch drunk drivers
- Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols
- Media education campaigns
- Passive alcohol sensors to detect alcohol vapor in the ambient environment
- Ignition interlocks for all DWI offenders
- Specialized state DWI courts
Alcohol-impaired crashes are not accidents–they are crimes. Contact a qualified Michigan DUI attorney if you have been charged with an alcohol-related offense.