The NTSB is recommending states lower the current blood alcohol-concentration standard of .08 percent by more than one third to .05 percent.
“If even one death, DUI related fatality can be prevented, then it’s worth it, but .05 is a very low threshold, says Peter Decker, a personal injury attorney and defends many arrested for drunk driving.
To reach .05 is about one to two beers in an hour for an average-weight woman and about two to three beers for an average man.
“I think it’s a good thing because it’s going to make the highways much safer,” says Mike Goodove, a Norfolk attorney and Southside chapter president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Goodove’s brother was killed by a drunk driver in 1990.
The current standard was put in place about a decade ago, but NTSB says new research finds impairment begins at .05 percent and above.
“It’s the same exact argument, but the data shows that you’re impaired at those levels and it seems crazy to me that individuals would want to be out driving while they are impaired,” Goodove says.
Currently more than 100 countries have BAC limits set at .05 percent or lower.
The NTSB does not have the authority to change the standard. It is ultimately up to individual states to decide.