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Lowering the legal drinking limit isn’t the answer

September 19, 2018

Marcus Kowal’s Sept. 12 Wednesday Opinion essay “A proven way to save countless lives” criticized my organization — the American Beverage Institute — for its opposition to lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for driving from 0.08 to 0.05 blood alcohol content. While the tragedy prompting the author’s efforts is horrific, pushing this ineffective policy will not reduce the drunken- driving problem.

Drunken driving is a major issue that demands attention, but targeting drivers at 0.05 blood alcohol content, a threshold that is less impairing than talking on a hands-free cellphone, is not the solution. The real problem lies with high blood alcohol content and repeat offenders who are responsible for the vast majority of alcohol-related traffic fatalities. The average blood alcohol content of a drunken driver involved in a fatal crash is 0.18.

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