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Lowering The Limit?

WILKES-BARRE — The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending tougher blood alcohol limits for drivers.

The NTSB wants states to lower the legal BAC limit from .08 to .05. It’s a standard that has been shown to substantially reduce highway deaths in other countries.

The lower blood-alcohol threshold was one of a series of recommendations made by the national board aimed at reducing drunken driving.

The issue of drunk driving is a safety concern with law enforcement officials around the country including in Luzerne County. Just ask District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

“I would say at least one third of our cases in the district attorney’s office deal with DUIs and drinking while driving,” said Salavantis.

Salavantis says if there’s anything that could help combat drunk driving, the government should try it.

The NTSB now recommends that all 50 states lower the legal blood alcohol limit from .08 to .05.

Joe Rodano of Rodano’s on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre says .05 is about the equivalent of a drink or a drink and a half.

“Take extra precaution when coming out and realizing that all of a sudden your two drinks may be shortened to one. So you need to have a plan B in hand just in case.”

Some people say it all comes down to how well a law like this could be enforced.

“Whether it’s drinking and driving or texting, it’s just another thing that it’s hard for the law enforcement to keep up with,” said Robin Edwards of Forty Fort.

District Attorney Salavantis feels that lowering the legal limit would still have an impact.

“There have been studies from other countries who have lowered it to .05 that have shown that it has decreased the number of fatalities.”

The NTSB cannot lower the legal blood alcohol limit itself. It’s up to individual states to do that.

It took more than 20 years until every state had lowered the limit from .1 to .08.


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