Blood Alcohol Concentration, or otherwise referred to as BAC is the total amount of alcohol found in the bloodstream of people or their breath.Blood Alcohol Concentration is often expressed as the total weight of ethanol in grams for every 100 mililitres of blood, or in every 210 litres of breath. BAC is measured either by the test of urine, blood, or breath. The number of drinks that one consumes is a poor measure of intoxication because of the variation in both physiology, and individual alcohol tolerance. Variation depends on the sex of an individual, the body weight, or the percentage of body fat. BAC and the number of drinks that one consumes accurately indicate the level of impairment. Besides, the tolerance to alcohol varies from one person to the other, and is affected by factors like synergistic effects of drugs, chronic use of alcohol, and genetics. Most states consider someone as intoxicated when their level of BAC is .08. There has been debates to lower the level of BAC to .05, and the mixed reactions have stirred different opinions.
The American beverage institute has strongly opposed the lowering of the BAC levels to .05. According to the body, “The move is an attack on the restaurant and hospitality industries…” (ABI, paragraph 1).The body believes that this reduction will make the responsible consumers to become criminals. ABI also warned people against allowing their state municipality or legislature to be fooled that lowering the level of BAC would help increase the traffic safety(ABI, paragraph 1). Therefore, the body strongly urges people to stand against the 0.05 decrease in the level of BAC.
The nationally known BAC is 0.08, and it is ideal for driving. This level of BAC would take approximately three drinks for an average man to contain. However, in the recent times, the NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board pushes the state legislators to come up with laws that would lower the BAC level down to 0.05. So far, Utah has been the only state, which has passed the legislation (ABI, paragraph 2). As much as the pursuit of lowering this level is masqueraded behind the urge to improve the safety of traffic, the conclusion is ideal, and the ones who oppose this move do not see any sense.
The facts cannot be changed. Drivers with about 0.05 may be somehow impaired, but impairment depends. Besides, drivers who talk on hands-free cell phones or the ones who drive over the age of 65 are more impaired than the ones whose BAC level is 0.05 (ABI, paragraph 2). Therefore, it is apparent why the drivers with 0.05 BAC levels are impaired. These drivers have had little to drink. Moreover, a woman who weighs approximately 120 pounds will hit the 0.05 level after she has more than one drink. For a man that weighs about 160 pounds, he will be seen as drunk after he takes two of the same drinks (ABI, paragraph 4). This comparison is what brings up the responsible behaviour in a criminal act. The level at which men are affected to that of women differs, and men have to take more bottles than women (ABI, paragraph 4). Therefore, it is apparent that the rate of attaining this BAC level depends on the number of drinks that one has, the sex, and the body weight.
The traffic safety statistics have further crippled the argument of NTSB regarding the 0.05 level. Besides, approximately three percent of fatalities that relate to traffic have involved drivers with 0.05 BAC level. Concentrating on the limited resources in the group is illogical, and represents misappropriation of resources (ABI, paragraph 5). Law makers are supposed to concentrate on the high level of BAC, and the offenders, who are responsible for taking too much alcohol. Approximately 70 percent of traffic fatalities that concern alcohol involves a driver who has a BAC level of about 0.15 and above. The figure is 3 times higher than the propose 0.05 (ABI, paragraph 5). The ABI insists that people should not let the false narrative that that NTSB peddles to full them. Lowering the AC level to 0.05 is a big mistake, which will harm the local economies, criminalize responsible behaviour, and distract law enforcement on the road.
An article by Fell suggests that an appropriate way to mitigate alcohol-impaired driving injuries and fatalities is to bring down the criminal BAC limit to approximately 0.05 grams per decilitre. This measure has depicted to have sound rationale (Fell, paragraph 1). Most industrialized countries, apart from the U.S. have enacted the BAC limit to 0.05. However, in Canada, most provinces enacted administrative laws, instead of criminal laws to penalize drivers with BAC that are higher than 0.05 grams per decilitre. Moreover, offenders risk losing their driver’s license for a short term. The also risk a possible vehicle impoundment as well as a fine (Fell, paragraph 1). Studies in Canada have shown that there are significant declines in crashes that relate to alcohol.
These crashes are often associated with adopting 0.05 administrative law. Thus, it should be easier to convince the legislature in the U.S. to adopt these administrative sanctions that would affect the drivers with a BAC level that is over 0.05. These sanctions do not have to be severe, but they can get dangerous drivers off the road (Fell, paragraph 1). Once some states implement these sanctions, they should be able to analyse the effectiveness and the efficiency that they have to mitigate the impaired driving crashes in the U.S, following that the Canadian studies have been successful (Fell, paragraph 1). Many prominent public health organizations like the World Health Organization, and the American Medical Association have policies, which support the BAC of about 0.05 or lower. This level is acceptable as the legal limit for the drivers who are aged 21 years and older (Fell, paragraph 2). Most countries, the United States included, have a zero tolerance limit that is greater than or equal to approximately 0.02 grams per decilitre for all the drivers who are under the required legal drinking age (Fell, paragraph 1). Approximately 91 countries globally have adopted the 0.05 or a lower BAC level for all the drivers. About 54 other countries have used BAC limits that range from 0.06 t0 0.12 (Fell, paragraph 1). Therefore, it is apparent that the U.S. can also follow suit and reduce this limit with ease, after which it will follow up of the success of implementing such sanctions.
Test track and laboratory research have shown that many drivers, even the ones who have an experience in drinking and attain a BAC of approximately 0.15 or greater are often impaired if the BAC is 0.05 or higher whenever they drive (Fell, paragraph 3). Studies have indicated that in some of these tasks, the performance decrements are often between 30% and 50% when the BAC is at 0.05.
The possibility that drivers can be involved in a crash increases steadily, when the BAC is 0.05. At each increase by 0.01, the risk of the drivers of being involved in an accident increases as well. When the driver exceeds the BAC of 0.05, the risk rises rapidly, and there are very high chances that the driver will have a fatal crash (Fell, paragraph 4). This risk is lower in the drivers whose BAC level is 0.00, meaning that they do not have any alcohol in their blood systems.
Therefore, lowering the BAC limit to approximately 0.05 has proved to be an effective countermeasure which has reduced the rate of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in countries like Australia. As much as the studies in both Australia and Europe have used differing methodologies to analyse these repercussions, the evidence that these studies present are persuasive and consistent (Fell, paragraph 5). These studies are satisfactory in the sense that injury and fatal crashes, which involve the drivers who drink decrease on the order of approximately 0.05 to 0.18 once any country lowers the legal BAC limit to 0.05 (Fell, paragraph 5). If all the states adopted and enforced the 0.05 BAC limit, an estimate of between 500 and 800 lives could be saved annually. Once the legislatures see the sense in this proposal, they best thing that they should do is embrace the change and implement laws, which will decrease the BAC. After all, it is in the interest of the legislature to make sure that the citizens are safe, and therefore, they have to come up with laws that will protect the people. Citizens have hopes in their legislature, and believe that the laws they make are of great value to them.
It is reasonable to set a standard BAC of 0.05. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration surveys, it is not easy for most people to drive after they consume two or three drinks within an hour. The limit of people should not exceed the BAC level that associates the limit. For most drivers, the BAC would be 0.05 or lower.
Over the past 15 years, the progress in mitigating the impaired drivers has come to a stop. Lowering the limit of BAC can be a deterrent to all the people who drink and drive. Besides, they send a message that the state gets tougher on impaired driving, and the laws that will be put in place will not tolerate drunk drivers who put the lives of the fellow citizens at risk (Fell, paragraph 7). Such kind of a legislation reduces the drivers who drink and drive, in fatal crashes at all the levels of BAC.
To date, there is no state that has adopted the 0.05 BAC limit statute in the United States. Canada is an exemption because all the provinces apart from Quebec have enacted the administrative laws, which penalize the drivers who violate the laws. The federal criminal law for Canada has set its limit to 0.08, just like in the United States (Fell, paragraph 8). In British Columbia, the administrative law is referred to as IRP, or Immediate Roadside Prohibition. Anyone who violates it faces a suspension for three says, a fine worth $200, as well as an impoundment of the vehicle for three days when the offense is a first-time offense (Fell, paragraph 8). Besides, studies have indicated that the administrative 0.05 BAC level is ideal.
A study in the British Columbia law revealed a significant decrease in fatal crashes, approximately 21%. The cases of hospital admissions and ambulance calls for the road trauma were about 8.0%, and 7.2% respectively (Fell, paragraph 10). All these cases were associated with implementing 0.05 BAC in the administrative law. Moreover, the administrative license suspension is more effective than the criminal suspension. The provisions of the law include administrative penalties for all the first time offenders, and criminal sanctions for repeat offenses (Fell, paragraph10). In the United States, there is a legislative action concerning distracted driving. Maybe attaching a 0.05 BAC administrative reform could be a good idea.
It is no doubt that the reduction of to 0.05 BAC limit would bring u controversy that would capture the public attention like it has already done in the United States. While some bodies are for the idea, others are completely against it because they have a different opinion (Fell, paragraph 11). The 0.08 BAC limit was implemented in the United States in the 1980s. This limit caused a reduction in the fatal injuries, and particularly to the drivers whose BAC was at that level and the ones whose BAC was greater than 0.20 (Fell, paragraph 11). Lower BAC laws were also related to the reduction of alcohol consumption in the states, which adopted them. The administration license suspension gives the police the power to deal with drivers who have a 0.08 BAC limit.
Therefore, it is recommended that the United Sates should adopt a legislation, which provides for an administrative of 0.05 BAC program that resembles the IRP programs in Canada. Such administrative laws are more palatable to the state legislatures (Fell, paragraph 12). Once they are implemented in some states, it will be easy to analyse the effectiveness of these programs to mitigate impaired driving crashes.
Sufficient evident points to the support of the reduction of BAC limit to 0.05. Experiments that have been carried out in different laboratories, driving simulators, and on the courses of closed access show that the critical driving skill, specifically processing information and tasks that bring about divided attention are affected by the low doses of alcohol. All these effects are evident in the in the researches that concern crashes which come up because of BAC limits that are below the legal limit. Drivers who have BACs that are higher than the 0.05 have high chances of crashing compared to the ones who have lower BACs.
A lower limit in the BAC is not limited to the abstract calculations of risk or the laboratory. There is a significant evidence concerning the positive effect of low BAC limits in countries that have embraced this strategy. The change was evident when the BAC limit was lowered to 0.08back in the 1980s in America. Young drivers should have an administrative BAC limit that is below the minimum required. The government should also introduce a 24 hour licence suspensions for drivers whose BACs limits are over 0.05.
It is the responsibility of any government to ensure that the citizens are safe. As such, the government should take care of all its citizens by all means the legislation implements policies that aim at ensuring that the lives of the citizens are in good hands. Therefore, considering what happens in the roads is the number one measure that the legislature should focus on. Studies have shown that countries like Australia and Canada have embraced a BAC limit that is 0.05. The United States has still maintained its limit at 0.08, and therefore, it is urged to follow suit. However, there are both opponents and proponents of this venture, which has brought about mixed feelings to the citizens. Whichever the case, the fact is that the government should act fast. When the BAC level was lowered down in the 1980s, the results were commendable. The number of crashes and fatalities from road carnages were mitigated substantially. The venture was efficient and effective. The same thing should be done for a BAC limit of 0.05, and the results will also prove to be effective as it was in the previous time. However, for young drivers, the BAC limit should be lower than 0.05 and if possible, 0.00. Coming up with laws that penalize the offenders will make people stick to the right direction, and the drivers will always do what is expected of them. The number of people who die because of road accidents will reduce, and the drivers will be more careful on the road. Therefore, the safety of the citizens goes a long way, and it starts with the members of the legislature. As much as there are opposers towards this proposal, the fact is that it is effective, and will help save a lot of lives.
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