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Should states lower the blood alcohol content levels for drunk driving?

Should states lower the blood alcohol content levels for drunk driving?Should states lower the blood alcohol content levels for drunk driving?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently recommended that states reduce their blood alcohol content (BAC) limits from .08 to .05, or even lower, in an effort to eliminate alcohol-impaired driving. The move is a bold one, so we decided to reach out to our Facebook fans to find out what they think.

Each year nearly 10,000 people die in drunk-driving related crashes, with another 146,000 injured. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), fatal crash risk increases substantially after .05 BAC, but it accelerates rapidly after 0.08 percent. Compared to other countries, the United States has a higher BAC limit than many others. Almost all of the 27 European states have a threshold of .05 percent or lower.

The question we posed: The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that states lower the blood alcohol content levels for drunk driving from .08 to .05. What do you think: Too far or not far enough?

We received nearly 200 comments and 223 likes over just a couple days. The responses were mixed between going too far and not far enough. A number of people said to focus on distracted driving as that is more dangerous. Others weren't sure if it would make much difference, but wanted more stats on how many deaths and injuries the move would prevent. The issues of enforcement feasibility and how to catch those repeat offenders came up repeatedly.

Here are some other responses:

"Why is it people are still allowed to drive after numerous DUI convictions? Revoke the license after the problem is identified. The NTSB recommendation is absurd."

"For the ignorant ones who want it at 0.00: 30ml of cough syrup or swishing with Listerine will cause you to read .03."

"In his senior year in high school, my cousin was killed by a drunk driver. I have nothing against drinking; I have EVERYTHING against someone who drinks, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle!"

"This is really easy to avoid. Don't drink, then drive...doesn't have to be difficult. Just like speeding, match the posted speed limit to the little number on your dash... ABRACADABRA... no speeding tickets. Most law-abiding people get this amazing concept."

"There is a reason that it is .08, and not .05. It has been proven that .08 is the actual level where it can begin to cause impairment (actually .089). This would virtually eliminate the ability to do any social drinking. Lets enforce the laws we have, before we make new ones that will only be randomly enforced. That would save lives, and be a good deterrent."

"I would take it a step farther... every car should be equipped with a breathalyzer that will not let the car start if over the legal limit. That would solve the problem."

"Cash grab! They are trying to help States raise more money by doing it. Won't save any lives."

A hot topic, for sure. Check out the Consumer Reports Facebook page to read the rest of the submissions. Or feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments, below.

—Liza Barth

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