May 6, 2009

Why .08? The age old debate

.08 blood alcohol concentration or BAC is the illegal threshold that determines whether or not a driver is drunk or not. For year, numerous groups like the American Beverage Institute have assaulted this number, alleging that impairment doesn't begin until .10 or even .14.

Recently, MADD has fought for ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers and this debate has resurfaced.

However, a recent story out of Washington State reminds us that at .08 virtually everyone is truly impaired.

Two weeks ago, Lisa Close welcomed baby Kaleb into her family. Kaleb survived four months in his mother's womb after she was hit by drunk driver and left in a coma. The driver was arrested and registered a .09 BAC.

ABI has sent out numerous press releases nationwide attacking MADD's efforts to require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. They like to point out that data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that the average BAC of a drunk driver in a fatal car crash is .18.

But what about those who are severely injured like Lisa Close and baby Kaleb. Aren't they worthy of protecting as well?

At the end of the day, .08 is drunk. It's not individuals who had a glass of wine with dinner. It's individuals who put all of us at risk when they get behind the wheel of a car.

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