If the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has its way, the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) in Florida will drop from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. The NTSB is urging states to crack down on drunk drivers by reducing the legal BAC, strengthening laws that enable police officers to take away drunk driver's licenses and using passive alcohol sensors. In the last three decades, 440,000 people have died in drunk driving accidents, and approximately 10,000 people die from them annually. The NTSB believes that lowering the BAC will lead to fewer drunk driving fatalities.
The last time states lowered the BAC limit it reduced the number of deaths caused by drunk driving substantially. In the 1980s, the legal BAC limit was 0.15 percent, nearly double what it is today. Following awareness campaigns by safety advocacy groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, states began lowering the limit to 0.08 percent. This led to a dramatic reduction in fatalities. Between 1980 and 2011, the number of annual deaths dropped from around 20,000 to less than 10,000.