The Huffington Post shared a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Diego regarding blood alcohol content (BAC); we’d like to add our perspective. Over the last thirty years drunk driving fatalities have been cut in half and have been cut by 20% in the last decade alone. Any life lost at the hands of a drunk driver is a tragedy but lowering the legal limit from .08 BAC is not the way to go.
Most alcohol-involved fatalities include drivers with very high BACs. In fact, sixty-four percent of fatalities involve drivers with blood alcohol levels of .15 and above – nearly twice the legal limit of .08 BAC.
So what should be done? High visibility enforcement, ignition interlock devices, DWI Courts, intensive supervision and probation and pre-trial assessments all have proven track records yet are not widely utilized.
The scientific measure of impairment is not a simple calculation. Each individual metabolizes alcohol at different rates based on gender, food consumption, age, drinking experience and other factors. Determining the level of impairment at which someone should no longer be operating a motor vehicle is certainly not measured by assigning blame in a police report as a recent study from UC San Diego sociologists did.
Let’s eliminate drunk driving by working harder on the strategies and tactics already proven to cut deaths and injuries on our highways. Swift identification, certain punishment and effective treatment is the best solution.