Group urges states to cut alcohol limit for drivers

By: Michelle Heron Email
By: Michelle Heron Email

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT)- We have all heard the slogan, “Buzzed driving, is drunk driving.”

Members with the National Transportation Safety Board are aiming to put a stop to those who chose to drive under the influence.

“I think Kentucky better than most states, understands exactly why this issues is so important. Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Carrollton crash, which still stands as the worst alcohol impaired crash in the United States,” Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board Deborah Hersman said.

Board members this week handed down 19 recommendations that target stronger laws, stricter enforcement and improved use of technology to drive down accidents involving impaired drivers.

One of those urge state to cut current blood alcohol concentration levels by more than 1/3, from .08 to .05.

“We want to make sure that accidents like that don't occur again. Every year we lose 10,000 people. That's 10,000 reasons to take action,” Hersman added.

Government statistics show someone with a .05 BAC level are 38% more likely to be involved in a crash. That's compared to a .08 BAC level, which gives a person a 169% risk of being involved in a crash.

But local restaurant owner Phillip “Jabo” Clemons thinks cutting the BAC level is going too far.

“You're going to take the people who are responsible drinkers, that don't drink and drive and get out of control and turn them into DUI's and they're not DUI's,” Clemons said.

Clemons says stiffer policies on impaired drivers would also affect his business.

“To go to .05 would be to have someone having a couple drinks and then someone would get a DUI. So then people aren't going to come out and eat,” Clemons added.

While some don’t oppose the change, others believe there are different remedies.

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