Connecticut urged to lower legal limit in effort to save lives

Drinking and driving continues to be a problem in Hartford County and, despite the fact that the practice is considered socially and legally unacceptable, many people continue to do it. The result is dozens of people dying or injured each year in Connecticut from car accidents caused by a person under the influence of alcohol.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving there are 2,743 people with five convictions for drunk driving and over 15,000 people who are three-time offenders in Connecticut. So far in the recent year, 92 people have died in collisions involving alcohol; the number of people who have suffered injuries is unknown. As of 2012, people who are convicted of drinking and driving in Connecticut are now required to use an ignition interlock, which is designed to prevent them from starting their car if alcohol is detected on their breath.

Lower legal limit

The National Transportation Safety Board has recently made the suggestion that lowering the current blood alcohol content limit from 0.08 to 0.05 could save up to 1,000 lives every year, according to NBC News. They are recommending that all states, including Connecticut, take action to do what has already been done in other countries around the world. Lowering the legal limit would encourage people who show signs of impairment at a lower BAC from drinking and driving.

The NTSB pointed out that there are several reasons why states should lower the BAC and these include:

  • Four million people admit to drinking and driving.
  • Studies show that people often experience impairment of cognitive abilities at a BAC of 0.07.
  • Australia's provinces experienced a reduction in fatalities after lowering their BAC to 0.05.
  • Every year 10,000 people are killed in accidents involving alcohol.
  • Lowering the BAC to 0.08 has resulted in a 50 percent drop in traffic fatalities within the U.S. over the last 20 years.

According to the Register Citizen, European nations have experienced a significant reduction in alcohol-related deaths since lowering their BAC to 0.05. So far, over 100 countries have a BAC limit of 0.05.

Reactions to the NTSB

The sentiments expressed by the NTSB are not shared by everyone. The American Beverage Institute has spoken out against the recommendation, pointing out that people who drive with high amounts of alcohol in their system are simply going to ignore the law anyway and that the lower amount would only punish those who already drink responsibly.

Those in favor of such legislation argue that lowering the BAC would save lives and keep more people who drink off of the roads. With over 30,000 injuries being sustained in drunk driving crashes every year, advocates argue that a lower BAC seems to make sense. Victims of drunk drivers should sit down with an experienced attorney to learn how they can hold that driver financially responsible.