Washington, D.C.—The World Health Organization recently renewed their support of lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving from 0.08 to 0.05 BAC—a level that can be hit by some after consuming little more than a single drink—in their annual road safety report. The American Beverage Institute strongly opposes the recommendation and advocates for keeping the current 0.08 legal BAC limit in place.
Jackson Shedelbower, American Beverage Institute communications director, released the following statement:
Lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05 BAC may seem like a policy that’s “tough on drunk driving,” but in reality, it’s anything but. Nearly 70 percent of alcohol related traffic fatalities involve someone with a BAC of 0.15 or above—a group that is largely ignored by .05 legislation. If someone who already breaks the law by driving well above the current 0.08 BAC limit, why would they abruptly change their behavior after the limit is lowered?
Instead of focusing limited traffic safety resources on this group of legitimately drunk drivers, 0.05 legislation simply criminalizes enjoying a drink or two over dinner or out with friends prior to driving—even though impairment is not yet meaningful at these low BAC levels. Lawmakers in the U.S. should consider the nuances of traffic safety policy and the impacts of a .05 limit on moderate consumers before pursuing the recommendation.