A federal agency makes a push for stricter standards behind the wheel with a lower legal limit. It’s an effort the feds believe will cut deadly crashes in half.
Law enforcement says a new law will help, but not everyone agrees.
The National Transportation Safety Board has proposed lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.
Sgt. Todd Ringle with Indiana State Police says law enforcement often pull over impaired drivers, “for weaving or driving left of center,” only to find they’re actually under the legal limit.
He says, “Any time you can lower the legal limit, you’re going to save lives.”
Health officials at St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville say it’s hard to draw the line on who’s drunk and who’s not, but the change to 0.05 percent could mean some people are over the legal limit after just one or two drinks.
“Your driving can be impaired from that very first drink,” Mary Raley, an injury prevention coordinator at St. Mary’s says, “Every individual is different; the safest thing to do is to not drive if you’ve been drinking, because you don’t know.”
Drivers say a lower limit is good, but it may not matter.
“There are those that are going to drink and drive no matter what the limit is, unfortunately,” Melinda Scheller says.
The NTSB can’t make laws – only recommend states change them, and they made a similar push in 2013.
They’re also trying to get more breath ignition locks installed in cars.