WTVM 5/20/13 Editorial: Lowering the blood alcohol level - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

WTVM 5/20/13 Editorial: Lowering the blood alcohol level content

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(WTVM) -

Every year, nearly 10,000 people die in alcohol related accidents, and about 170,000 are injured.

A drunk driver is defined in all 50 states as someone with a blood alcohol level of .08.

In an effort to reduce alcohol-related injuries, the National Transportation Safety Board is now recommending that states lower the number to .05.

That would mean women who weigh about 120 pounds and men who weigh about 160 could be classified as legally drunk after a single glass of wine or two beers.

Many are criticizing the recommendation, saying it would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior.  Others say it could take years for such a law to go into effect and the focus should be on what can be done now.

We say this change needs to happen...and it needs to happen sooner rather than later.  

At .05, officials say  the risk of having an accident increases by 39 percent, but at the current .08 that risk goes up by more than 100 percent.

The NTSBS believes if all 50 states adopted the lower standard, 1,000 lives could be saved every year.

It took 21 years to lower the standard from .10 down to the current .08.  We would hope it would not take that long for states to adopt the proposed lower standard of .05.  

We all need to understand that if you drink at all, you cannot get behind the wheel… and if this new, lower standard saves even one life - it would be well worth it.

General Manager Lee Brantley brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906

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