Reaction to new BAC level recommendation

By: Conroy Delouche Email
By: Conroy Delouche Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - We all know .08 is the legal limit to drink and drive.

But now, the NTSB wants to lower that number to .05.

They say it'll save lives, and Local 8 News talked to some who say making the change is a good start.

DUI is a potentially deadly problem. But will lowering the legal limit cut down on drunk driving?

"Lowering the BAC is just one piece of the puzzle," said Julie Strike with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Some say that's an important piece.

"People are already going over that. I think bringing it down and saying 'hey this is something we're really big on' I think it's gonna be a lot better for our community," said Cody.

Others say the change will eliminate scenes like Tuesday night: people in Market Square enjoying a nice evening, and some having a drink or two.

"The city of Knoxville wants to bring people downtown in the evenings to try and promote tourism. All of that is going to be out the window when people are getting arrested," said DUI Attorney Steve Oberman.

"Unless someone is well over 200 pounds, one or two drinks would cause them to violate the law," said Oberman. "We are essentially saying: anyone who drinks, can no longer drive."

MADD says it supports any action that sheds light on the dangers of drinking and driving. But we need other measures to keep people from getting behind the wheel when they've had too much.

"Ignition interlocks save lives. It's proven. There's scientific research that shows that fatality numbers in the states that have all offender ignition interlocks that their fatality numbers have dropped," said Strike.

Of course she says the most important thing is to remember that if you have a drink, have a plan to get home safe without driving yourself.

This is the complete statement from MADD in reaction:

"MADD appreciates the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for bringing the American public’s attention to the fact that drinking and driving continues to be a major problem on our highways—killing almost 10,000 people a year—and that additional steps have to be taken to save the unnecessary loss of life and injuries that occur as a result of these crashes. Above all, MADD strongly recommends that the safest course of action is to not drink and drive.

The focus of our advocacy remains on the continued implementation of our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® (CEDD). It is important to note that the CEDD has been structured to maximize the number of lives saved as quickly as possible and, when fully implemented, is projected to save approximately 8,000 lives a year.

The U.S. Congress adopted the CEDD as national policy when it approved surface transportation reauthorization legislation, known as MAP-21, in 2012. Through the CEDD’s three elements of increased high visibility law enforcement, state laws requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted offenders, and research toward the development of advanced technology to prevent a drunk driver from operating a vehicle, the CEDD is leading the nation toward the elimination of drunk driving as the leading cause of highway fatalities. The CEDD also enjoys widespread support, including that of the NTSB, which in December 2012 recommended that states enact all-offender ignition interlock laws and endorsed advanced drunk driving prevention technology research.

MADD is committed to serving all victims of substance impaired driving, regardless of impairment levels. MADD’s 1-877-MADD-HELP line is available 24 hours a day, and MADD serves a victim of impaired driving every eight minutes. MADD will continue to focus our attention and resources toward the CEDD's proven drunk driving countermeasures, which does not include lowering the BAC per se level, in order to have the greatest impact on saving lives. The goal of the CEDD is to eliminate drunk driving so there are no more future victims."


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