Stiff legal penalties, public safety campaigns, interlock devices and roadside stops have worked to some extent in arresting the rate of alcohol-related injury. But it is not enough. Even one premature death resulting from impaired driving is too much. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) agrees.
In a report entitled Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol Impaired Driving, the NTSB sets forth sweeping recommendations that mark the next level of approaching the problem of drunk driving in the United States.
As part of their study of drunk driving in the United States, the NTSB recommends lowering the current legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit from .08 percent to .05 percent. Citing research, the NTSB notes impaired driving can occur at .01 BAC. It will be the task of each state legislature to enact or ignore the NTSB recommendation.
Other suggestions by the NTSB include:
More rigorous attention to repeat DUI offenders
Development of in-cab alcohol sensing devices
Stepped up action and visibility of law enforcement
Develop and implement DUI courts to address the need for real rehabilitation of first-time and other offenders
Consider ignition interlock devices for all first-time offenders
In Leon County, alcohol related fatalities in 2010 declined to 185 from 263 the year before. The reduction is laudable, but the reality remains the same. Even one death due to a drink and a drive is too many. With time, the NTSB recommendations may help us reach zero.