NTSB: Lower blood alcohol threshold for drivers

Reactions mixed over possible change

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Many drivers already know that if they blow .08 at a DUI checkpoint, chances are they're going to jail. But under a new recommendation through the National Transportation Safety Board, that maximum limit could go down to .05.

Some say it's a good idea to help save lives.

"When you have alcohol in your system, you're unable to know what's going on," said Letasha Harris. "So if they lower it, that's fine. Then they'll be able to get more people off the street who are driving drunk."

Studies show that each year, roughly 4 million people admit to driving drunk behind the wheel, and nearly 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes.

Criminal defense attorney Randy Reep handles DUI cases all the time and disagrees with the idea. He says just because someone blows .05 doesn't mean they're impaired.

"I think you're going to find that overly intrusive without showing some type of impairment," Reep said. "It's a slippery slope because the reality is, why not .02? Why not any alcohol? Why .05?"

Jill Leslie, of the Jacksonville chapter for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also disagrees. In a statement, she says, "Lowering the blood alcohol content level is just one way of addressing drunk driving. MADD feels the best opportunity to fight this issue is to enforce current law. We also feel the best thing to do is to push our campaign to eliminate the issue."

For Ronald Johnston, the way to end drunk driving is to take personal responsibility.

"I think that all decisions have to be personal ones," he said. "I think that people have to grow into that responsibility to make the right decisions. I really believe that, yes."

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