National Transportation Safety Board Wants Drunk Driving Limit Lowered to 0.05

Lynchburg, VA- Lots of discussion Tuesday after the National Transportation Safety Board put out a recommendation to lower the drunk driving limit from 0.08 to 0.05.

Alcohol related crashes kill 10,000 people every year. The NTSB says by lowering the blood alcohol content cutoff, it could save 300 to 500 lives each year.

Now, why lower it to 0.05? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a person at that level could experience reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, and reduced response to emergency driving situations.

Local police say the move could help them keep more drunk drivers off the road.

"Anything that helps reducing impaired drivers from the roadway, whether it be a legal limit or modifications to a car, anything that gets an impaired driver off the highway would be a recommendation we would fully support," said Officer Ronnie Sitler, with the Lynchburg Police Department.

Sitler says lowering the limit wouldn't change operations too much for them. They would require some new training to recognize the signs of a person intoxicated a 0.05 level. But he says they work mostly off field-sobriety tests. He says if you fail a test, it doesn't matter what your BAC level is, you're in trouble.

"You can still be convicted at those levels now. By lowering the limit to a 0.05 what that would do is automatically presume that you are impaired at a lower limit, instead of having the probable cause and the evidence to determine that."

A 0.05 BAC for the average woman is two or three servings of alcohol in one hour. It's three or four servings in an hour for an average man.