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Tougher drunken driving threshold recommended

By Joan Lowy

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, May 14 2013 10:27 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2013 file photo, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Deborah Hersman speaks during a news conference in Washington. Federal accident investigators were weighing a recommendation Tuesday that states reduce their threshold for drunken driving from the current .08 blood alcohol content to .05, a standard that has been shown to substantially reduce highway deaths in other countries. 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.”

Ann Heisenfelt, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — Federal accident investigators recommended Tuesday that states cut their threshold for drunken driving by nearly half, matching a standard that has substantially reduced highway deaths in other countries.

The National Transportation Safety Board said states should shrink the standard from the current .08 blood alcohol content to .05 as part of a series of recommendations aimed at reducing alcohol-related highway deaths.

More than 100 countries have adopted the .05 alcohol content standard or lower, according to a report by the board's staff. In Europe, the share of traffic deaths attributable to drunken driving was reduced by more than half within 10 years after the standard was dropped.

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