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Drunk driving blood alcohol level should be .05, NTSB says

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The National Transportation Safety Board is challenging states to significantly lower the the threshold for a person to be arrested for driving under the influence.

According to ABC News, the NTSB is recommending that a person be charged with DUI if they care caught with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent, which is 35 percent lower than the national standard of .08 percent.

 "Our goal is to get to zero deaths because each alcohol-impaired death is preventable," NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said. "Alcohol-impaired deaths are not accidents, they are crimes. They can and should be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will."

But the recommendation to lowering the alcohol content threshold to .05 is likely to meet strong resistance from states, said Jonathan Adkins, an official with the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices.

"It was very difficult to get .08 in most states so lowering it again won't be popular," Adkins said. "The focus in the states is on high (blood alcohol content) offenders as well as repeat offenders. We expect industry will also be very vocal about keeping the limit at .08."

Every state in the country uses .08 as the current threshold for impaired driving. NTSB officials say that hundreds of lives could be saved every year is the alcohol level is lowered.

The American Beverage Institute called the NTSB's recommendation “ludicrous” and the “latest attempt by traffic safety activist groups to expand the definition of drunk.”

Kimberly Boswell's friend died in high school.
"My friend was just in the back seat driving with her friends and a drunk driver hit her and she had her seatbelt on and everything,” she says. “She was the only one who died."

While Boswell supports the change, she also doubts it.

“People are still going think on their own and do what they want to do,” she says. “I mean, that's just the scary part about it."

Nearly 10,000 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2011, according to MADD.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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