NTSB wants to lower alcohol limits from .08 to .05

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Submitted: Tue, 05/14/2013 - 8:53pm
Updated: Tue, 05/14/2013 - 10:31pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended the legal blood alcohol content for drivers be lowered from .08 to .05. The NTSB hopes to cut the nearly 10,000 deaths every year related to drunk driving.

It’s no secret downtown Wilmington is a place people like to party and drink. It may be part of the reason why New Hanover and Brunswick counties have regularly ranked among the worst in the state for DWI arrests.

“We think it’s time to look at that, because there are definitely fatalities that involve people that don’t reach that .08 limit when they clearly weren’t safe to drive,” District Attorney Ben David said.

A report by the National Transportation Safety Board suggests that lowering the legal blood alcohol level for drivers could save between 500 and 800 lives every year.

“If it keeps drivers safer and limits and decreases the number of accidents then I think it’s a good idea,” Jeff Healey said.

Driving under the influence is responsible for nearly a third of all crash deaths in the US. Amber Faridi says any change to the current law is a good idea.

“I think it’s a really good idea to make our roads safer, especially with the summer coming up and parties and graduation,” she said. “I think it’s a really good idea.”

An idea shared by the county’s prosecutor.

“Any amount of alcohol is too much to be operating a car, and whether it’s .08 or .05, hand your friends or family the keys if you’ve been drinking anything, because you don’t know what is in your system in terms of the number and any amount is unsafe,” David said.

Currently every state is at the .08 percent standard. The NTSB has no authority to change the standard. It can only recommend that each state make the change. Currently every state is at the .08 percent standard. It took more than two decades for states to lower from .1 percent to .08 percent.


  • Gustafo says:

    Just because a 90 pound college girl cant handle two beers and plows into a family of 5 doesn’t mean a grown man can’t have the same two beers and drive a straight line. They’ll be banning pressure cookers next. The government isn’t making it safer, ….they’re taking away your rights. Little by little.

  • Guest2020 says:

    What will make our roads safer is enforcing the laws already on the books and not letting drunk drivers off with a slap on the wrist. All this new level would get you is a heavier caseload full of offenders who will get off anyway. Besides, this is state issue and the federal government should butt out.

  • GuestMan. says:

    that you are much better off smoking pot. Legalize it, make money off it, DUI’s go down. Win/Win.

  • Besty_Guesty says:

    Great! Just what we need: More Liquorcycles.

    What would be the penalty for a DWI on a DUI-mobile?

  • Guest6969696969 says:

    Remember We have “Wine Tasting”/ Art viewing Parties & get-togethers, Duplin County Winery seves you a “sample” of Wine= Your’e now DUI…
    Everyone will be “clamoring” for this New Law UNTIL it happens to them, ONE BEER, Or a *SAMPLE* of Wine at a art Gallery Function, and arrested for DUI..
    Why Not bring back Proabition While were at it?
    WE Will NOT because the GOVERMENT Taxes Us for buying it, then ARRESTS US for Doing “stupid” things While “Under the Influnace”, Like “Drinking in Public”, I myself have been ticketed for this Offense ON MY FRONT SideWalk! because; Me and a couple of friends Socializing, like you see on **King of the Hill**

    A guest post comment from My Good Friend Karl Dennenger.
    Credits.. http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=220750

    So you’re against drunk driving, I presume.

    But: What’s drunk? Well, that’s a good question. Is it “any amount of alcohol”? In the eyes of the NTSB, it is:

    WASHINGTON – A federal agency is proposing that states lower the threshold for drunken driving to the point where a woman could be charged for driving after one drink and a man after two in a move officials say would save thousands of lives.

    Uh huh.

    Officials “say”? According to…. whom?

    Oh, I know — they “say” that the toughening of the laws have “saved” lives thus far. They have no evidence for this claim, however.

    Car accidents have become far less lethal over the last 30 years in general. The reason is the change in vehicles; we now have airbags, the interiors have been made much softer (as opposed to hard steel previously) and in addition the engineering of vehicles so they absorb energy (at the cost of their destruction) in a crash rather than transmitting it to the people in the passenger compartment has been quite impressive.

    “Our goal is to get to zero deaths because each alcohol-impaired death is preventable,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said. “Alcohol-impaired deaths are not accidents, they are crimes. They can and should be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will.”

    My goal is zero gang-banger shootings. Gang-banger shootings are not accidents, they are crimes. They can and should be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will.

    The cops will be by this morning to search your home top to bottom and confiscate every firearm and round of ammunition they find. And they’ll randomly stop by, along with searching you on the street, any time they’d like in the future too.


    Still think the NTSB is on to something eh?

    New approaches are needed to combat drunken driving, which claims the lives of more than a third of the 30,000 people killed each year on U.S highways — a level of carnage that that has remained stubbornly consistent for the past decade and a half, the board said.

    Stubbornly consistent eh?

    “Studies show more than 4 million people a year drive while intoxicated.” Well, if that’s true then drunk driving is actually rather safe, objectively.

    According to their own statistics there is only a 0.25% chance that habitual drunk driving will result in a fatal accident! (10,000 deaths / 4 million people drive while intoxicated)

    This not to imply that I support driving while intoxicated. But the simple fact of the matter is that the law has continually tightened over my adult life in this regard, and in many if not all states a third DUI, irrespective of how long has passed between them is a felony.

    The approach we have in this nation is complete crap. Laws are supposed to be about punishing those who harm others, not creating a nanny state. The simple fact of the matter is that our improvement in mortality and morbidity on the roads is not about laws, it’s about technology. Anti-lock brakes, airbags, crumple zones and softer materials in the interior of vehicles such as rubber-wrapped steering wheels and collapsing steering columns along with vehicles that handle better and thus give you a better shot at evading an incipient crash are responsible for most of the improvement we’ve seen over the last few decades.

    Punish people who commit crimes with appropriate sentences. The crime occurs when someone is harmed as a consequence of your conduct — not before.
    Our *Rights* are slowly being Chipped Away, Yet OUR CRIMINAL GOVERMENT Kills Children with Drones in Foreign Cuntries, under the Guize of Thwarting Terrorism..
    Additionally,OUR CRIMINAL Goverment Has Blood on It’s hands of US Citzen’s, examples Range from the Killing of a Border Agent, (Brian Terry),,(Fast & Furious); to 4 people serving Our nation at Benghazi.
    We have thus far, that We know about…

    1. IRS
    2. Benghazi
    3. DOJ AP issue
    4. Fast & Fourious
    5. TBTF Banks caught Laundering Drug Procedde’s/Profits for Drug Cartel’s recieve a “slap on the hand”, (fines), While *admitting No wrong-Doing*
    6. Meanwhile, (all due Respect), The Great *ZERO* Cried like a *itch when questioned about it

    Where are the Impeachment Proceddings?

    People had better wake up in America or they are going to find they have about as much freedom as a VCR. Plug us in and we play what they want, or they unplug us. This is just another plantation and rather than liberate the slaves in 1865, We *AMERICANS*, have merely been made equal to be slaves. Lets hope we can refuse to volunteer, but they can make a crime of anything.

    Hey Media…Yes YOU

    How about a little help with the 2nd amendment, WE will take care of your 1st…

    What we don’t take seriously is that archaic piece of paper called the United States Constitution. We only care about the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and no others especially not the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th and 10th Amendments.

    The Justice Department

  • Guest2020 says:

    So people don’t smoke pot and drive?

  • Guesttoo says:

    Couple of simple-minded thoughts and questions…

    Where is the science behind this? Are there studies that say that the lower limit will save lives? Certainly, we shouldn’t be buying into this just because a government agency says so.

    Busting someone for DWI is a fairly lengthy process. Do we want police spending hours booking a 0.05 while there are 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4’s driving out there? This would take police OFF the street, allowing more drunks to roam with impunity.

    If you get into an accident that is no fault of your own, and you had a beer, what will happen? NC laws are screwy when it comes to being at fault. If a person is found to be one-percent at fault, it gets ugly. I can see every accident resulting in a breathalyzer for all parties involved.

    I’m sure the lawyers in NC are pretty excited at the possibilities!

  • Guest1234543 says:

    Guest6969696969 you have hit the nail on the head, Vog and NCnative have their head stuck in the sand, nobody wants to be on the road with a drunk driver, but if an individual can’t drive at .08 responsibly I’ll wager they can’t operate responsibly at no alcohol, I am becoming a strong believer that the state of NC should require a drug test and a driving test in a simulator annually to keep a drivers license., It’s getting a little old following a person with a handicap sticker doing 30mph in a 55 zone and they are weaving all over the road, and why the NTSB is at it let’s hear the stat’s on texting and driving, let’s disable all cell phone’s when they are in motion, let’s all join in on making the roads safer!

  • Guest 1492 says:

    As I recall, that didn’t work out too well the first time.

  • Guest1234543 says:

    What I am in favor of is for the government to get out of our business, and for starters neither the state nor the feds have the right to be in the alcohol or gambling business and yet tell us there is going to be a penalty for using either, if big brother thinks it’s bad for you then we should prohibit any tax dollars being generated from it!

  • Guest0101 says:

    So you can’t even go out and have A drink now and drive home??? Why doesn’t the government just put interlock in everybody’s vehicles?

  • Guest1234543 says:

    .08 is not causing the accidents, and if it is then they should just op for 0 tolerance, and the state and fed’s need to get out of the alcohol business or they are the one’s that should be held accountable!

  • GuestNCNative says:

    Your thinking is just wrong. Alcohol only becomes a DWI issue if someone chooses to drink and then chooses to drive. No one makes them drink, and no one makes them drive…except those who choose to drink and then drive.

    Your whole held accountable statement is rubbish. Why? If the sale of alcohol was privatized, would they not then be responsible for DWI’s, based on your crappy logic?

  • Vog46 says:

    The government should be out of the alcohol and gambling businesses because people can get drunk or p=spend too much I say this.
    Personal responsibility.
    Thats right.
    Be responsible for what you do. Novel thought eh?
    Yeah, ‘ol Vog is known to have a couple of fingers of Bourbon now and again but I sure as heck don’t drive when doing it, nor do I carry. I leave my weapon locked up if I’m at home and drinking. If I’m out I’ll call a cab or the Mrs – no problem. I have picked up each of my kids at one time or another when THEY realized they had had too many. I never said a word – no anger, no remorse, nothing. They knew how I felt about it………

    I say the legal limit is OK now at 0.08.
    $66B from drunk driving accident damages.
    Saving possibly 500 to 700 lives?
    Is it worth going to 0.06?


  • Native American says:

    That’s all this is. I think the ones coming up with this are already impaired.

  • Christine says:

    I feel the judicial system needs to take responsibility for the number of drunk drivers on our roads. Lowering the level from .08 to .05 is NOT the solution, it only targets responsible drinkers. The system has consistantly let DUI offenders out of prison without any consequences for their behavior. The offender should be placed in jail, the car impounded, clear instruction to relatives and friends that once the offender serves time and they allow the offender to use their car, they will also face jail time if the offender is convicted again. The system needs to disable the perpetual DUI offender. The offender should NEVER have a drivers license again!

  • GuestNCNative says:

    Are you SERIOUSLY suggesting that this problem is the fault of anyone other than the idiot who chooses to drink and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive it?

    You REALLY need to check your information before you start braying like a donkey. As a 9-1-1 dispatcher, I can assure you the following facts are true because I see them happening EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. There are PLENTY of arrests for DWI. Those arrested DO go to jail. Their vehicles ARE seized when the arrest is due to a charge of DWI. There are so many arrests and seizures for DWI that that tow companies actually bid on becoming the exclusive DWI seizure tower…it’s THAT lucrative.

    An overwhelming majority of them no longer have a driver’s license because they have been permanently suspended, but an overwhelming majority of them drive anyway. And to top it all off, an overwhelming majority of them who have lost their vehicles to a DWI seizure use scooters to get around town only to be stopped on suspicion of DWI while on scooters! These people are hardcore stupid. They can’t stop themselves from drinking and driving. Unless there’s some terrorist gang who goes around forcing alcohol down their throats and forcing them to drive, the ONLY ones responsible for creating DWI’s and arrests are the drinkers that drive.

  • beth says:

    But it is about money! The whole system is about who has the most money. Those that can afford to pay their fines and a lawyer will get off pretty much Scott free with little to no reprimands in way of upped insurance rates and a ding on their driving record. I should know I have gotten out of many a speeding ticket myself with nary a scratch due to coughing up the money.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …and still have tons of violations! Then, all of the establishments that serve alcohol can shut down, only 1 beer’ll getcha! Again, the courts allow the game of the revolving door and collect a ton of revenue (along with the attornies!). I’ve been watching a case in Watauga county where a prior convicted DWI offender has been facing 2 more back-to-back DWI and drug offenses. This case has been continued over and over and over for a year and a half without being heard. This is a strategy the attornies and their clients use to hopefully “lose” the charging officer and have the case dropped. These “games” of court manipulation need to STOP immediately!
    BUT…while they’re at it with this super-technology with “smart cars” to detect alcohol use, howz about incorporating the same technology to stop people from texting and making phone calls while driving? It’s just as dangerous, kills just as many and it’s just as stupid behavior-wise!

    If your going to drink, stay home or get a cab. If your going to text, shut the engine down and lock it out!

  • Guest1964 says:

    It’s what DOESN’T happen to people who get cited for DWI to begin with. My husband’s best friend was killed by a drunk driver and it was discovered that this arrest was his third DWI, he was driving with a revoked license in a truck he borrowed from a friend. If he had punished harder with the first DWI, had he been monitored with an ankle monitor so that he couldn’t continue to drive, had he been forced to random alcohol checks, had he been forced to comply with rules that would make him understand the ramimifactions of his actions, he might not have been in that truck driving drunk that night. As it is, he continued to rack up DWIs until this last one which finally put him in prison but only for 12 years. It was plain and simple murder because even though he knew he didn’t have a license and he shouldn’t have been driving, he made the choice to do so anyway. And he got 12 lousy years. He gets out next year, but we will be without our friend for the rest of our lives.

    Changing the limit won’t do anything until the punishment from the first DWI is strong enough to make an impression.

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