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States consider lowering BAC to reduce drunk driving accidents

AdobeStock_104718188.jpegGeorgia, like nearly every other state in the U.S., recognizes the limit of 0.08 percent blood alcohol content. This means that if a driver has a level of 0.08 percent or higher, he or she can face charges for drunk driving.

However, Utah recently passed a law lowering this limit to 0.05 percent. And other states may follow.

The case for lowering the limit

Supporters of a lower BAC limit say that reducing it would keep drivers safe and prevent serious drunk driving accidents. They say that reducing the limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent could save roughly 1,800 lives every year and prevent more than 10 percent of fatal accidents.

These numbers come from the National Transportation Safety Board, which recommended lowering BAC limits to 0.05 back in 2013. 

It’s not a new idea, necessarily, but Utah’s move to make it a law has reignited the debate.

Argument against the move

And make no mistake, it is a debate. While there are powerful arguments in favor of lowering the limit, there are vocal critics arguing that such a move is not going to be nearly as effective as people think. 

For instance, an American Beverage Institute spokesperson says that the focus of new legislation should not be on lowering the minimum BAC limits; it should instead address drivers who have very high BACs. According to some reports, drivers with a 0.15 percent BAC or higher are involved in a whopping 70 percent of fatal alcohol-related accidents.

No easy answers

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this debate, and no single measure that will bring the number of intoxicated drivers on the road down to zero. As such, motorists, pedestrians and others across Atlanta will continue to face the threat of getting injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver.