People react to proposed lower legal drinking limit

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB is pushing states to make the legal drinking limit for drivers, go from .08 to .05. NTSB is encouraging states to lower the limit as a way to reduce alcohol-related car crashes.

The idea received mixed reviews in Downtown Wilmington.

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Maire Perdomo, said she would support a lower legal limit.

“I just think it’s really important that it’s lowered,” said Perdomo. “It’s important that people know the law, and if it causes more arrests then it will and then we will get more drunk drivers off the street, because you shouldn’t drive when you’re drunk.”

Chris O’Toole said he thinks a change will hurt businesses.



“It could definitely hinder people from wanting to go out, and spending money,” said O’Toole.

He said he doesn’t think a lower limit will keep people from drinking and driving. He said even with taxis and Ubers people still drink and drive.

“I think that if someone is going to drink they are going to drink and if they have in their mind they are going to drive,” said O’Toole.

James Jonathan Hardister said he is open to the idea of a lower limit but he can also understand why people would be against it.

“It’s not a really black or white issue,” said Hardister.  “There’s a billion different ways to look at it.”

A question many have is whether someone is impaired enough to not be driving at 0.5.  According to the NTSB crash risk rises as the blood alcohol content or BAC levels rise. In 2014 they found a BAC of 0.5 had a crash risk that was 11 times higher than driving sober.

According to statistics the NTSB cites, drivers with a BAC between 0.5 to 0.8 represent just 8% of all the drivers involved in fatal accidents.

This recommendation isn’t new, we reported practically the same proposal back in 2013.