The recent announcement by the National Transportation Safety Board sent the entire nation into a buzz this month when they suggested that the .08 blood-alcohol threshold be lowered to .05. It’s worked in reducing the number of alcohol-related deaths in more than 100 countries after they adopted the new lower limit.

But while some critics feel that lowering the limit could be viewed as a throw-back to the 1920’s prohibition era, others argue that lowering the limit could greatly reduce the number of drunk-driving accidents that claim thousands of lives every year. But while lowering the limit might be a major step towards preventing these accidents from happening in the future, some Wisconsin troopers feel that there are other things that can be done as well.

According to one Milwaukee County sheriff, more emphasis must be placed on the first drunken driving offense in the state. He says that part of the problem in our state is that often times the first offense is not criminalized which allows these drivers to become repeat offenders on multiple occasions. If there were more penalties for a first-time offender along with the lowered limit, the sheriff speculates that this could finally be the way to reduce the number of serious drunk-driving accidents in the state.

But while both sides of the argument continue to fight to be heard, many accident victims who have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of drunken driving would agree that even a small step towards preventing accidents is progress. Those who support the NTSB’s request to lower the limit stress that the move would not be to deny other people the right to drink but rather to protect the lives of the other innocent drivers who could be affected by that decision to drink and drive.

Source: The Journal Sentinel, “Wisconsin should lower standard for drunken driving,” May 18, 2013