NTSB wants blood alcohol level dropped

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - The amount of alcohol you can drink before driving could change. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending states drop the rate of the legal blood alcohol content.

The NTSB says lowering the rate would save nearly one-thousand lives a year.

It's been five years since Paul Russo's brother died at the hands of a drunk driver.

“The 27th will be the anniversary of my brother's Vince's funeral,” said Russo.

One person dies every hour in a drunk driving crash. 

The NTSB is suggesting states lower their blood alcohol content from .08 to .05.  Russo is indifferent to the change. 

Russo said,  “At this point in time I'm okay with .08. If we could get the legislature to pass .05 I guess that would be a good thing. If the NTSB thinks it's going to save 1,000 lives over the course of a year."

A local attorney says New York State is already ahead of the NTSB.

Attorney Jeff DeRoberts said, “So I think in New York State we are already covering what the National Transportation Safety Board might be looking to do. To say someone at a .05 is intoxicated might not be accurate.”

Dropping the limit to .05 could turn a lot of responsible social drinkers into criminals. 

A 170 pound man would reach the limit by just having 3 glasses of beer in an hour and a 137 pound woman just two.

"It's definitely going to scare people into going out and drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car. If they know that if they have a couple of drinks in an hour they actually can go to jail for a year. Yeah that should scare people," DeRoberts said.

“We lose anywhere from 10,000 to 13,000 people a year that are killed at the hands of drunk drivers,” said Russo.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports the current blood alcohol content level.  Saying a driver is not impaired until they reach .08.

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