Should Wisconsin lower the legal BAC level to .05?

Currently, in Wisconsin, the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), level for a driver who has been drinking is .08.  The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending states lower that level to .05.  The lack of progress in decreasing the total number of people killed in crashes involving a driver who was impaired has been the main motivator behind this initiative.

Progress toward decreasing fatalities was made when the states lowered the BAC for driving under the influence from .10 to .08, the drinking age was raised to 21, and the states adopted a “zero tolerance” policy for those drivers under the age of 21.  The “zero tolerance” law states that any person under the age of 21 may have no trace of alcohol or other drugs present in their system.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), has stated its goal on reducing drunk-driving deaths in its new title: “Reaching Zero.”  This has sparked a huge debate across the country; some agree with lowering BAC tolerance levels, while others oppose the idea stating they believe this won’t bring enough change to the states considering the current laws.

NTSB estimates that a motorist with .05 BAC is 38 percent more likely to crash than one who is completely sober.  For the last 15 years, one-third of highway deaths have involved an alcohol-impaired driver.  One study found that lowering the BAC standard has saved some 360 lives a year. So NTSB concludes that lowering the BAC to.05 would save from 500 to 800 more lives per year.  Stay tuned as the debate for changes will continue.

Drug Free Communities of Fond du Lac County recommends that if you choose to drink, to keep yourself and others on the roads safe, have a designated driver or call a taxi.


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