NTSB considers changing legal drinking limit

MGN Online

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A federal safety board is recommending cutting blood alcohol standards nearly in half. It's a practice that has cut down on drunk driving in other countries, but will it work in the United States?

In a WKYT Reality Check, Kristen Kennedy takes a look at legal limits, and what the changes could mean for a night out on the town.

The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending moving the legal limit from .08 to .05. The board's argument is that more than 100 countries, after adopting the .05 rule, saw their drunk driving deaths decrease significantly.

Kentucky State Police track all highway fatalities, and throughout the year conduct traffic safety checkpoints. Those checkpoints can include field sobriety tests for drivers suspected of drinking. The agency says they will enforce the new rule, if put in place.

"We don't know if this is gonna happen or not, but if it does we're gonna do it to the best we can. If data is out there that's gonna help people, if it's the right thing to do then we're gonna enforce it like we've always done," explained Kentucky State Police Sergeant Rick Saint-Blancard.

The number of beers or glasses of wine it would take to reach a blood alcohol percentage of .05 will vary with individuals. Some people could reach that level fairly fast. Blood alcohol percentages are calculated according to a person's weight, the amount of alcohol they've consumed, and the amount of time taken to consume it.

"When it comes to people that are driving under the influence, we obviously have to have a reason to make a stop, probable cause. And so whether they're at .03 or .08, if they're driving if they're impaired and we see that, we're gonna make the traffic stop and do our due diligence from the beginning of the stop all the way through the field sobriety process," said Sergeant Saint-Blancard.

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