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Is it time to reduce the drunk driving limit?

Edwardsville residents may have heard that last week the National Transportation Safety Board recommended lowering the legal blood-alcohol content limit for driving to .05 percent. Currently, all states have a .08 percent limit. The reduced BAC was just one of several recommendations the NTSB issued in an effort to decrease the number of drunk driving accidents.

Here in Illinois, state lawmakers and officials have different opinions about the controversial proposal.

Illinois has maintained a .08 limit since 1997, and members of the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate told the Quad City Times that they think it may be wise to keep that limit in place. At least one lawmaker said that lowering the limit would be a problem for residents of smaller towns and rural areas where there is no public transportation.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, a 170-pound man would be over the BAC limit of .05 percent after consuming three beers.

The police chief of Normal, Illinois, said that while it is difficult to say for sure, it is likely that lowering the limit would lead to safer driving.

The interim police chief in Bloomington, Illinois, told the newspaper that reducing the limit to .05 could save lives.

It remains to be seen whether Illinois or any other states will adjust their drunk driving laws in response to the NTSB's recommendations. We know that throughout Illinois, drunk driving often results in serious injuries and death.

Do Edwardsville residents think that legislation lowering the BAC is the answer to this terrible problem?

Source: Quad City Times, "Lower drunk-driving limit gets mixed reviews in Illinois," Kurt Erickson, May 15, 2013

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