States should cut their threshold for drunken driving by nearly half— from .08 blood alcohol level to .05_matching a standard that has substantially reduced highway deaths in other countries, a federal safety board recommended Tuesday. That’s about one drink for a woman weighing less than 120 pounds, two for a 160-pound man.
More than 100 countries have adopted the .05 alcohol content standard or lower, according to a report by the staff of the National Transportation Safety Board. 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, the report said.
NTSB officials said it wasn’t their intention to prevent drivers from having a glass of wine with dinner, but they acknowledged that under a threshold as low as .05 the safest thing for people who have only one or two drinks is not to drive at all.
A friend of mine used to call MADD a bunch of neo-prohibitionists and you have to wonder if that’s the ultimate goal.