Texas Urged to Cut Legal Drunk Driving Limit from .08 to .05

When the Texas Legislature meets in January, lawmakers will be urged to lower the state's limit for drunk driving from the current .08 to .05, essentially two beers for the average person, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

NTSB member Bella Dinh-Zarr says of the roughly 10,000 Americans who die in accidents caused by drunk drivers in an average year, more than 1,000 die in accidents where the driver who has been drinking is between .05 and .08.

She says lowering the limit would also send a message that drinking should be 'disconnected' from driving.'

"This would not be done by increasing the arrests for DWI," she said in a conference call today.  "Its by encouraging people to make the right choice, the right choice not to drive after they have been drinking."

She says the ideal would be that people wouldn't even consider driving after they have been driving.

Dinh-Zarr says many European countries have blood alcohol limits at .05 or even lower, and they certainly don't lead to less social drinking."They may even drink more, but they die less, because of a .05 or lower BAC," she said.

She says a person who has even had two beers is seven times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than a person who has had nothing do drink at all.

A new law passed in Utah which takes effect at the end of this year lowers that state's legal limit to .05, and the NTSB says that should become the standard throughout the nation.


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