The amount of alcohol you may consume before you drive could get even lower if the
National Transportation and Safety Board gets its way.
The NTSB wants to decrease the legal driving limit of blood-alcohol content
to .05 percent or lower, essentially limiting you to one drink or you will risk getting arrested for DWI.
The federal agency published a list of policies it would like to implement
nationally, a so-called “wish list.” In addition to lowering the BAC level
below .08 percent, it wants to outlaw all cell phone use when driving, even
using a hands-free device.
The NTSB argues that research shows most people are impaired once they
reach a BAC of .05 percent. The agency has long advocated that driving
while drinking is dangerous and that drugs other than alcohol can cause
impairment; over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, and illegal
If adopted, a .05 percent BAC would limit a 100-pound woman to just one
drink. Two drinks would put any woman under 225 pounds close to or over the
proposed new legal limit. A 180-pound male would be limited to
just two drinks before reaching the legal limit.
For reference, one drink is equal to 1.25 ounces of 80 proof liquor, 12
ounces of beer, or 5 ounces of wine.
The NTSB is calling for a cultural change when it comes to cell phone use in
the car, citing that even hands-free devices are a cognitive distraction for
Each additional task a driver conducts while driving impairs his or her ability
to process from the primary task of driving. That distraction must be
managed, if not eliminated, the NTSB contends.