All 50 states, including Maryland, define drunk driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08 percent as a crime. Now the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wants to lower that threshold to .05 BAC to further reduce the number of drunk driving accident injuries and deaths. Currently about 10,000 people in the U.S. are killed every year in alcohol related motor vehicle crashes. The NTSB feels those are 10,000 good reasons to re-examine the nation’s legal definition of drunken driving.
In the early 1980s, public safety awareness groups brought more attention to the issue of drunk driving, with many states establishing a rate of .15 BAC to demonstrate intoxication. Over the next two decades, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) brought more attention to this deadly traffic safety problem, with all states adopting a .08 BAC by 2004.
According to CNN.com, “The number of alcohol-related highway fatalities…dropped from 20,000 in 1980 to 9,878 in 2011, the NTSB said.”