October 12, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health
The California Medical Association House of Delegates today voted (Res. 118-13) to endorse the National Transportation Safety Board’s 2013 recommendation that the legal blood alcohol limit for operating a motor vehicle be decreased from .08 percent to .05 percent or lower.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, each year in the United States, nearly 10,000 people are killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers and more than 173,000 are injured, with 27,000 suffering incapacitating injuries. Since the mid-1990s, even as total highway fatalities have fallen, the proportion of deaths from accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver has remained constant at around 30 percent.
Research shows that although impairment begins with the first drink, by .05 percent blood alcohol content most drivers experience a decline in both cognitive and visual functions, which significantly increases the risk of a serious crash. Currently, over 100 countries on six continents have limits set at 0.05 percent or lower. The NTSB has asked all 50 states to do the same.