The Federal limit to legally operate a vehicle in the U.S. is a 0.08% blood alcohol content, however, about one in three New Yorkers believe that the state should implement a zero-tolerance policy on drinking and driving.
In 2018, Utah made the decision to drop the percentage to just 0.05% blood or breath alcohol concentration, becoming the strictest blood-alcohol driving limit in the country.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calculated that every day, about 28 people in the U.S. die in drunk-driving crashes, which is one person every 52 minutes. In 2019, 10,142 people lost their lives due to driving under the influence.
Looking back on Utah’s low BAC policy, the NHTS found that Utah had fewer traffic fatalities and fewer crashes in 2019, only one year after the initiation of the policy. According to the report, the fatality rate fell by 18.3%, and the fatal crash rate decreased by 19.8% during that time.
This year, the Desert Hope Treatment Center, part of the American Addiction Centers portfolio of facilities treating patients struggling with substance abuse, conducted a survey. Desert Hope surveyed 3,445 people to determine how they feel about implementing a statewide 0% drinking and driving policy and found that 33% of New Yorkers support the idea.
The survey also concluded that nationally, 66% think current drunk driving penalties are not harsh enough, and three in four say they would report a friend or family member for drunk driving.
While the national limit to legally operate a vehicle is 0.08% BAC, effects of alcohol in the blood occur as low as 0.02%. According to NHTS, 0.02% of people experience some loss of judgment and feel relaxation. At 0.05%, intoxication causes exaggerated behavior, loss of small-muscle control, impaired judgment and lowered alertness.
Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the country involve drunk drivers. According to the numbers, drunk driving does not only have legal consequences but also physical consequences.