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OK House Transportation Chair: BAC Limit Should Be Lower

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Lawmakers say they will consider lowering the blood alcohol content limit by nearly half, after reviewing the NTSB recommendation released Tuesday. Lawmakers say they will consider lowering the blood alcohol content limit by nearly half, after reviewing the NTSB recommendation released Tuesday.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Drinking and driving laws could undergo drastic change in Oklahoma and many other states following a new recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Lawmakers say they will consider lowering the blood alcohol content limit by nearly half, after reviewing the NTSB recommendation released Tuesday. In Oklahoma, Rep. Charlie Joyner, house transportation committee chairman, says the limit should be lowered. If change is desired, each state must determine how low to go. Currently, every state's limit is at .08 BAC.

"If people [are] going to break the law, they're going to break the law no matter what the limit is," Oklahoma City driver Bobby Johnson said.

But the federal government disagrees. The feds are citing a study from Europe where lowering the BAC limit reduced drunk driving by more than half within 10 years. The NTSB wants the limit lowered from .08 to .05.

"I do believe it should be lower," Rep. Joyner said. "Drinking and driving is just killing so many people each year."

Joyner agrees with the NTSB but admits some of his colleagues won't feel the same way.

"Sometime what they [point to] is, ‘government intrusion,'" Joyner said.

Many men can have up to three drinks under the recommended limit. But for women, it's different. According to a BAC calculator from the University of Oklahoma, any woman under 180 pounds will likely be over the legal limit on her second drink.

"Women like to have fun," female driver Terryka Neal said. "And you get pulled over for something that small just because they changed the law … I don't agree."

Other drivers welcome the new recommendations.

"Anything they can do to make it safer on the roads is a plus," driver Amos Wamble said. "It protects them, and it protects everybody at large."

Each year, nearly 10,000 people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents. More than 100 countries have adopted the .05 alcohol content standard. The United States, Iraq and Canada are among a small group of nations with a BAC limit of .08.

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