Reporting Steve Pickett
DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Every 20 minutes in Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Texas leads the nation in DWI related accidents and deaths. Nationwide, drunk driving kills someone every minute. In 2011, ten thousand people were killed.
In Texas and the nation, drunk driving is currently determined by a blood alcohol level of .08. The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that limit be lowered to .05. The NTSB wants all states to lower their blood alcohol level limit, in an effort to reduce drunk driving incidents.
A woman weighing less than 120 pounds can reach .05 after just one drink, studies show. A man weighing up to 160 pounds reaches .05 after two drinks. For many, driving with a .05 blood alcohol level is not something that should be deemed criminal and illegal.
“Well, I’m a victim of a drunk driver, but I’m not against people having a drink and driving,” said Keller resident, June Aurelio.
“I don’t know what they would accomplish by lowering it. Most people can drink just one drink, and be right at that level,” added Sophia Aurelio.
Leaders from the North Texas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving continue to push for sobriety checkpoints on Texas streets, to find drunk drivers, but surprisingly a lower legal blood alcohol limit is not on their priority list.
“Lowering the legal limit to .05 could be good or bad, but the biggest problem is it would be years in the making. We pushed for .08, and it took ten years for that to happen.”
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said blood alcohol level changes could eventually lead to behavior changes. “For people who are obeying the law, it says I need to be a bit more careful, because I need to have someone with me that is not drinking.”
More than 100 countries have adopted the .05 alcohol content standard or lower, according to a report by NTSB staff. In Europe, the share of traffic deaths attributable to drunken driving was reduced by more than half within 10 years after the standard was dropped.
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