Over the last few decades, traffic fatalities have been steadily decreasing. For example, in 2001, there were a total of 42,196 registered traffic fatalities. Just ten years later, in 2011, that number dropped all the way to 32,479 deaths.
That’s a drop off of nearly 10,000, which is astonishing because there has only been an increase in the number of cars on the road.
Despite this drop, though, there has been one consistent: the average amount of deaths linked to drunk driving. That’s right; for decades that number has stayed at a consistent 30% of total fatalities.
Because of that fact, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is embarking on a crusade to reduce that number by cutting the legal limit for blood alcohol content from .08 to .05.
“This is critical because impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers in the United States,” said Deborah Hersman, the NTSB chairman. “To make a bold difference will require bold action. But it can be done.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time that there has been an attempt to lower the legal limit. Just a few decades ago, a similar crusade was successfully launched to lower the limit from .10 to .08.
That doesn’t mean that this proposal will pass, though. With the announcement to try and lower the legal limit to .05, the NTSB has faced a lot of backlash this week, especially from the restaurant business.
American Beverage Institute spokesperson Sarah Longwell says, “[This proposal] would preclude people from feeling comfortable having a single glass of wine with their dinner. “This would be devastating to the restaurant industry because it would preclude people from feeling comfortable having a single glass of wine with their dinner.”
Longwell adds, “We think that as long as we continue to make our case, that this won’t get any traction.”
This little war, however, will not be settled by either organization. They are just lobbyists.
Instead, the legal limit dispute will eventually be settled by state government.