Scientific Panel Recommends States Lower BAC Limit for Drivers to 0.05

A report by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is recommending that states lower drunken driving thresholds in an effort to eliminate the 10,000 alcohol-impaired-driving deaths in the United States each year.

All states currently have a 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers. Last year, Utah passed a law that will lower the state's limit to 0.05 when it goes into effect on Dec. 30, 2018.

The academies' report, which was commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), points out that "alcohol-impaired driving remains the deadliest and costliest danger on U.S. roads," accounting for 28 percent of traffic deaths. Every day, 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-related crashes, and 40 percent of those killed are people other than the drunken driver.

The panel made other recommendations aimed at curbing alcohol-impaired traffic crashes and deaths, including increasing alcohol taxes and making alcohol less conveniently available by reducing the hours and days alcohol is sold in stores, bars and restaurants. It also calls for cracking down on alcohol sales to people under 21, or those who are already intoxicated to discourage binge drinking, and putting limits on alcohol marketing while funding anti-alcohol campaigns similar to those against smoking.