The issue of blood alcohol content and legal driving limits have received a great deal of public attention lately as federal safety regulators want to seize control of the policy and institute new rules regarding DUIs and alcohol consumption while driving. Republican Party leaders in Washington, DC have pushed back and declared that the issue of transportation safety as it relates to alcohol and drunk driving should be a state mandated policy. The National Transportation Safety Board wants to reduce the legal blood alcohol content limit, and issued a report this week to Congress urging officials to approve grants for state governments who reduce the legal driving limit to .05, down three points from the current .08.
This proposed change to policy is aimed to drastically cut back on alcohol related motor vehicle deaths by limiting the amount of alcohol drivers are permitted to consume. Every year in the United States, there are more than ten thousand deaths on the road related to alcohol, accounting for one third of all motor vehicle deaths. Although recommendations made by the NTSB are not binding and states do not technically have to comply, tying funding dollars to this initiative likely means that many states will follow along. The funding is often used to repair roads and other transportation infrastructure, which is a major concern right now for many states.
As of right now, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not appear to be endorsing the NTSB’s proposed changes to policy and suggested grants to compliant states. They did, however, announce that they would support and work with those states that decided to lower the legal limits on the road. While Democrats and Republicans alike agree that alcohol is extremely dangerous when combined with driving, they differ in their view of who should take responsibility for tightening up the laws and protecting the people.
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