USA: Calls to Lower BAC Limit
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) calls to lower the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit in all states of the USA to 0.05%.
The NTSB cites several reasons why the move would benefit people and economy.
- It is estimated that lowering the BAC limit in every state to .05% could potentially save up to 1,790 lives a year.
- The total economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in 2010 was $242 billion, or 1.6% of America’s GDP. Alcohol-involved crashes accounted for $52 billion or 22% of all economic costs.
- There is an increased crash risk beginning at .04% BAC and the crash risk is nearly doubling by .08%.
The NTSB has been calling to lower the BAC limit since 2013. In Utah, which lowered BAC from 0.08% to 0.05%, a 43% decrease in alcohol-related crashes and a 70% decrease in resulting deaths has been reported.
According to NTSB, reducing BAC limits works because they deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol. In the past 10 years, more than 100,000 people have died in crashes in which at least one driver had a BAC of .08% or above. On the economic side of alcohol-related traffic crashes, there are among others medical costs, missed work due to injury or disability, insurance payouts, lost market productivity.
In 2019, four more states – California, Michigan, New York, and Oregon – introduced bills to reduce the legal limit to .05% which are still awaiting approval.