Wednesday, June 5, 2013

BAC to .05

The National Transportation Safety Board has proposed lowering the legal limit for drunk driving to .05, more than 1/3rd reduction of the current legal .08 limit. On the outside, it is very difficult to argue against anything that tries to prohibit drunk driving. According to the NTSB, drunk driving claims the lives of over 10,000 people each year. Their goal is to reach zero drunk driving related deaths each year, and getting the BAC lowered to .05 would be a great start. As I see it, eliminating any cause of unneccessary death is a very admirable goal.
The bad news lies for those businesses, just like us, that generate revenue from the sale of liquor. What a legal BAC of .05 does to us is basically eliminate the sale of a 2nd or 3rd beverage and all but eliminates any type of late night gathering amongst friends. The penalty for drunk driving is too severe for many people to endure. The legal limit was once .10 and then lowered to .08 in 2000. If the science hasn't changed, the American Beverage Institute questions how the NTSB can "criminalize responsible behavior?" Beyond running a business, in which the proposal would harm, it also concerns me from a personal standpoint.

This is a very fine line to walk on this discussion. Many, if not all of us, never intend to go out, get smashed and drive home. That is the definition of irresponsible behavior, and the penalties that come with being caught are well deserved. Not to mention, putting the lives of other innocent individuals at risk. We have access to taxis; we can bring designated drivers with us ;or we can always call for a ride.

But, what a BAC of .05 does is put all of us at risk for a very, very large penalty without really doing anything wrong? It's not out of the realm of possibility to say that 2 drinks puts someone over a .05 BAC. This is a very scary proposal for businesses like ours. We certainly don't promote coming to our establishment and having 6 or 7 beverages and then driving home. But we do promote coming out with friends or significant others to enjoy a couple of drinks and having a nice night out on the town. A legal BAC of .05 would severely discourage anyone from having more than 1 drink and then driving home.

Might be a good time to invest in the taxi business!

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