NTSB: Lower Legal BAC to .05

Posted at: 05/14/2013 6:45 PM
By: Brianna Long


(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Some big changes could be coming to drinking and driving laws across the country. Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board voted to release recommendations to all 50 states, which include lowering the blood alcohol content level. The legal amount of alcohol you can have in your blood to drive a car is .08%. If the NTSB's recommendations become law in Minnesota, that could change to .05%.

"Impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers in the US," said Deborah Hersman, the chairman of the NTSB. After a year-long study by the NTSB, the verdict is in. The five-member board voted unanimously to make recommendations to all fifty states.

In addition to lowering the BAC, the other recommendations are:

"Anything that helps get impaired drivers off the road is good for law enforcement," said Sgt. Tony Teal, with the Rochester Police Department.

Some college students at UM-R say the changes could be good.

"I think that is totally ok," said Stephanie Dickey.

"I remember in high school having mock car crashes for prom to demonstrate what its like to be intoxicated and getting in an accident and that in itself is scary," said Rachel Nguyen.

"I think any type of alcohol can impair someone's driving, whether it's one beer, one mixed drink, one shot, anything like that. It affects you. I know people don't think it affects you, but it does," added Dickey.

If these recommendations do become law, that is still a long way off. But the goal is to keep people safer.

"We've made progress, but not nearly enough," said Hersman.

A 180 pound man can have about four drinks in an hour before hitting that .08 mark. That would change to about 2-3 drinks in order to be under .05.