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Stricter drunk driving standards recommended nationwide

The National Transportation Safety Board, (NTSB), is recommending all 50 states lower blood-alcohol thresholds for drivers from 0.08 to 0.05 on Tuesday, 5-14-2013.

Police administer the one leg stand test to a driver after a crash
Versageek - Wikimedia Creative Commons

Although these are advisory recommendations that do not carry any force of law, the NTSB is hoping states will comply to help reduce the 10,000 deaths per year related to alcohol impaired driving.

A driver is subject to arrest if their blood alcohol content level, (BAC), is 0.08, or higher. In Michigan, a driver who is found to have a BAC level of 0.17, or higher, is subject to enhanced penalties under the Super Drunk law as well.

"Each year, nearly 10,000 people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents and 170,000 are injured, according to the NTSB. While that’s a big improvement from the 20,000 who died in alcohol-related accidents 30 years ago, it remains a consistent threat to public safety," reported

For more than 30 years, we have known that the consequences of drinking and driving are deadly. In fact, for the last 15 years, one-third of highway deaths have involved an alcohol-impaired driver. People impaired by alcohol are at a substantially greater risk of being involved in a traffic crash, and those crashes frequently result in injuries or deaths. Impairment does not start when a person's blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.08 percent; it begins with that first drink," according to the NTSB.

"The NTSB said even very low levels of alcohol impair drivers. At 0.01, drivers in simulators demonstrate attention problems and lane deviations. At 0.02, they exhibit drowsiness, and at 0.04, vigilance problems," reported

The NTSB will be awarding incentives to states that implement the changes.

Although not in widespread use yet, some law enforcement agencies use a device that sniffs during a traffic stop. If it alerts to the presence of alcohol it gives the police grounds for more thorough testing.

In Michigan, 1st and 2nd drunk driving offenses are misdemeanors, 3rd or subsequent offenses are felonies. However, blow a 0.17 or higher, and you are subject to enhanced penalties as stated earlier.

2011 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatality Data for Michigan

  • Total Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities - 255
  • Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities - 38
  • 2011 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100,000 Population
  • Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K population - 2.6
  • Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K population - 1.4
  • 2001-2011 % Change in Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K Pop
  • 10-year Change in Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K pop -34.7
  • 10-year Change in Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per 100K pop -36.5
  • Percent of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Involving high BAC drivers (.15+)
  • BAC=.15+ - 67
  • Percent of Drivers in Fatal Crashes Involving Repeat Offenders
  • BAC .08-.14 - 10
  • BAC .15+ - 90
  • 2010 and 2011 12-20 Year Old Alcohol Consumption
  • Past Month Alcohol Consumption - 25.5
  • Binge Drinking in Past 30-days - 16.9
  • 2011 Arrest Data
  • Under 18: Driving under the influence - 360
  • Total: Driving under the influence - 29443
  • Under 18: Liquor laws - 2443
  • Total: Liquor laws - 14923

(From, Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatality Data Source: NHTSA/FARS, 1/12)

The NTSB believes if all 50 states reduced the BAC level to .05, about 1,000 lives could be saved yearly.

If your going to drink regardless of what the BAC level is for getting arrested, don't do it. Unless you have a device to test your own levels, call a cab, or you might not make it home, or the person/s you slam into.


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If you or a loved one needs help with any type of drug abuse/addiction problem, contact these sites depending on where you live. SEMCA (Wayne County residents), CARE (Macomb County residents), PACE (Oakland County residents), Drug Free Detroit (City of Detroit residents). For those residing outside the State of Michigan, contact SAMHSA for assistance. For assistance with medical marijuana issues contact The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, Michigan Medical Marijuana Certification Center, or, phone number: (313) 967-9999, or (248) 677-2888.

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