The National Transportation Safety Board would like to decrease the legal driving limit to one drink, lowering the legal limit on blood-alcohol content to 0.05 “or even lower.” The agency released its “most wanted list” on Wednesday, an annual wish list of changes it would make it would make across America if it could. Two of these proposals certain to stir controversy are the lowering of the legal limit and outlawing all cell phone use while driving, even hands-free technology. “When it comes to alcohol use, we know that impairment begins before a person’s BAC reaches 0.08 percent, the current legal limit in the United States,” the agency said. “In fact, by the time it reaches that level, the risk of a fatal crash has more than doubled. That is why states should lower BAC levels to 0.05— or even lower.”
Milpitas Police Department’s traffic unit will conduct a driving under the influence/driver’s license checkpoint from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, May 24 on Great Mall Parkway. The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes, according to police. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive patrols are conducted routinely, according to law enforcement. In California, this deadly crime led to 802 deaths because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Nationally, the latest data shows nearly 10,000 were killed by an impaired driving. “Over the course of the past three years, we have investigated 127 DUI collisions with 28 injuries, which included one fatal collision,” Milpitas police Sgt. Raj Maharaj said. Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment with officers checking drivers for proper licensing delaying motorists only momentarily. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving. Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol
The National Safety Council released its preliminary estimate of 2013 vehicle fatalities this week. The 35,200 figure represents an approximately three percent decrease over 2012 but a 1.5 percent increase over 2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which also keeps track of fatalities, will release its 2013 statistics at the end of the year. Expect NHTSA’s numbers to be lower based on the way its data is collected. According to a Christian Science Monitor report today, the nonprofit NSC includes accidents on private property and deaths occurring up to a year after the accident. NHTSA, a part of the federal Department of Transportation, counts accidents on public roads only, and only those deaths which occur within 30 days of an accident.