Local law enforcement pondering lower alcohol limit - WRBL

Local law enforcement pondering lower alcohol limit

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Some local law officers think the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation to lower the blood alcohol content limit is worth exploring. On Tuesday, NTSB recommended states reduce the limit from .08 percent to .05 percent.

Twenty-eight-year-old Neely Ker-Fox can have a couple of drinks and still feel in control. She believes she would be able to legally as well. But under the new proposed law, she would probably be over the limit.

"I've never had my blood alcohol checked after two drinks. I'd be curious actually, if two glasses of wine at point five then I would have a different attitude about it," Ker-Fox said. She weighs less than 120 pounds. For her blood alcohol content, or BAC, to stay within .05 percent, she could only have one drink. Someone weighing 160 pounds could have two.

Major Randy Robertson with the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office said it can be a substantial difference when looking at the two BAC levels. "You're talking in some situations, two to three drinks." He believes governments should look into the lower limit if it helps save lives.

Drunk driving kills around 10-thousand people each year on U.S. highways. A recent study estimates more than 7-thousand deaths could have been prevented in 2010 if drivers had a BAC below .08 percent.

The NTSB alcohol can start impairing a person's driving performance at .01 percent.

"You could have some people that are .15 and they act more in control than an individual who's .04," Major Robertson said.

But Ker-Fox thinks the proposal is a slippery slope because people react differently to alcohol. "Where do you stop saying two drinks is too much for one person and not for another?"

Many officials believe it would be hard to get state support for the lower recommendations and incentives would need to be offered. The NTSB has no authority to change the standard. It can only recommend each state make the change.

Sydney Cameron

Sydney joined the WRBL news team in December 2011 after working as a freelance reporter in Washington, D.C. More>>

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