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Is a 0.05 BAC too dangerous for Nevada roads?

It was a long time coming, but back in 2003, Nevada lowered the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving to 0.08 percent. Before that, the limit was 0.10 percent. Now, after reviewing extensive data on injurious and fatal auto accidents across the country, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that states lower the limit again.

Citing the number of auto accidents involving a blood-alcohol concentration below 0.08 percent, the NTSB said states should make the limit 0.05 percent. As you might expect, tavern owners and victim advocates in Nevada are at odds over the recommendation.

The executive director of Stop DUI Nevada pointed to the death of a 19-year-old woman whose vehicle was struck by a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent. A trooper with the Nevada Highway Patrol also weighed in on the matter. He supports the recommendation and says "buzzed driving is drunk driving."

A statement from the American Beverage Institute disagrees, however, claiming that lowering the limit to 0.05 percent "would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior."

Upon hearing the recommendation, Governor Brian Sandoval said that he would have to consult with law enforcement officers and the Department of Public Safety before supporting a change in the law.

Drunk driving accident victims or their families are undoubtedly in favor of increased road safety. Alcohol is a factor in far too many crashes, even if the driver's BAC is below the legal limit to drive. If Las Vegas residents have been injured in a drunk driving accident, then it may be possible to receive compensation for any resulting medical bills or other costs. Driving while under the influence is a form of negligence, and people who are injured because of such negligence have recourse to the law.

Source: ktnv.com, "Calls to lower legal limit on drunk driving get mixed reviews in Nevada," Michael Lopardi, may 14, 2013

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