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Could lowering the legal limit prevent drunk driving accidents?

It may seem like alcohol is more prevalent than ever these days. Not only are people in Florida and across the nation drinking alcohol at home, at restaurants and at bars, but advertisements for alcohol make drinking seem like a fun and light-hearted activity. This, unfortunately, means that some people are taking things too far and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Approximately 10,000 people in the United States lose their lives annually in drunk driving accidents. Now, a panel of members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is stating that lowering the legal limit from 0.08 to 0.05 is one way to address this problem.

How much alcohol would a person need to consume to reach a blood-alcohol concentration level of 0.05? Well, this depends on a person's gender and weight. For example, if the legal limit was 0.05, a man who weighs 150 pounds would surpass that limit after two drinks. A woman weighing 120 pounds would surpass that limit after one drink.

According to the panel, taxes on alcoholic beverages should go up. The panel reported that if the tax on alcoholic beverages was doubled, the number of fatal traffic accidents would go down 11 percent. The panel also stated that the days and times alcoholic beverages can be sold should be lowered, that there should be a crackdown on the sale of alcoholic beverages to underage persons and, like anti-smoking campaigns and marketing, there should be anti-alcohol campaigns and limitations on how alcoholic beverages can be marketed.

The panel's report stated that drunk driving is the deadliest hazard on our streets, making up 28 percent of all fatal accidents. In addition, 29 people across the nation die in drunk driving accidents every day, and this doesn't even account for the many people who are injured. Of those who die in drunk driving accidents, 40 percent are individuals who are not the drunk driver.

These recommendations may be one way to deter drunk drivers, but, as things currently stand, drunk driving is still a scourge on our nation's streets and highways. Unfortunately, too many people are injured or killed in drunk driving accidents. One way these victims or their survivors can hold drunk drivers accountable is by taking legal action.

Source: CBS News, "Experts recommend lower drunken driving threshold to prevent deaths," Jan. 17, 2018

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