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Should drunk driving limit be lowered in Iowa?

One of the most senseless accidents that can happen is one involving a drunk driver. Drivers who are intoxicated have difficulties making quite and safe decisions behind the wheel which means they can very easily end up crashing into an innocent person who can be injured or even killed. People know that intoxicated driving is dangerous, so how are there so many drunk driving accidents happening in Iowa and nationwide?

Over the past several years, various groups have been focused on decreasing the number of crashes caused by drunk drivers. Efforts including increased law enforcement, ignition interlock requirements and improved education have all seen some amount of success, but some groups believe that more drastic action is needed.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently announced that it supported a change in drunk driving standards. Specifically, the NTSB says that they support the move to lower the drunk driving limit from 0.08 to 0.05.

According to reports, thousands of accidents are caused by drivers who are impaired by alcohol but may not be considered intoxicated under state laws. A driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 is reportedly 169 percent more likely to get in an accident than a person who has not consumed any alcohol. We know this is significant, but people may be surprised to learn that drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 are still 38 percent more likely to get in an accident than a sober driver. This still puts a driver at a significant risk of causing an accident. 

The issue has been fiercely debated since the proposal to lower the limit was announced. On one hand, more social drinkers could be charged for drunk driving even if they do not feel intoxicated or as though they are behaving irresponsibly. On the other hand, the standard for drunk driving in many other industrialized countries is set at 0.05. 

What do you think? Would lowering the allowable blood-alcohol concentration from 0.08 to 0.05 be an effective and positive solution to preventing drunk driving accidents? 

Source: The New York Times, "States Urged to Cut Limit on Alcohol for Drivers," Matthew L. Wald, May 14, 2013

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