NTSB Recommends Lower Drunk Driving Limits - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

NTSB Recommends Lower Drunk Driving Limits

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The National Transportation Safety Board voted to recommend to all 50 states that they lower the blood alcohol content for driving under the influence. Currently all 50 states have set a blood alcohol content level of .08. The NTSB wants to see that lowered to .05 percent.

Jim Holmes of Reno still remembers the day-- 17 years ago-- that his son, DJ Bernardis was killed by a driver under the influence. "We lost our son to a driver that was .06," he said. "It never goes away, it's what could have been," he added.

Bernardis was a senior and the football quarterback at Bishop Manogue and had just been accepted to Notre Dame for college. He was rear-ended by a drunk driver on April 2nd, 1996 on Interstate 80 near Wells Avenue. 

"I always say to people, don't feel sorry for me, but you should be enraged that a driver can get in a car and put himself in a condition to kill someone, that's the issue because he took a life," said Holmes.

The NTSB believes lowering the rate to point-oh-five could save between 500 to 800 lives a year. Trooper Chuck Allen of the Nevada Highway Patrol says that makes sense. "Studies show that if you achieve a .05 percent alcohol intoxication level that the risk of an unplanned event such as a crash on the highway doubles," he said.

Allen says it doesn't take a lot of alcohol to reach .05. And in Nevada you can be charged with DUI at that level. "If you drive a motor vehicle the best practice is abstinence. Refrain from alcohol altogether," Allen said.

Not everyone agrees with the recommendation. National beverage and restaurant trade groups say lowering the blood alcohol level won't keep hardcore drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.

The NTSB recommendation is just a suggestion. The agency has no authority to change laws. It's up to individual states to make drunk driving laws.

Written by Jennifer Burton

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