Jacksonville, FL - If your typical evening plans include going out to have a few drinks with friends or family and then driving yourself home, you’ll need to keep an eye on a recommendation out Tuesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board is urging states to tighter restrictions on drunk driving by lowering the legal limit from .08 to .05- or about two drinks for a 160 pound male, one for a 120 pound female.
The NTSB believes that change will save potentially thousands of lines, and your law enforcement agents largely agree.
“You can be intoxicated and have an accident and hurt someone and seriously injure them or kill them,” says Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler.
Beseler says, in his 40 years on the force, he has seen too much “carnage” as a result of drunk driving, and because people react so differently to drinking- because of metabolism, body type, etc- he says you can’t be too careful. In fact, the recommendation may not go far enough in his perspective.
“If you drink, just don’t drive. That’s the simplest solution,” Beseler says.
The recommendation is, ultimately, just that. So I took the question to your lawmakers: would you support an effort to lower the legal limit in Florida?
So far, a hesitant yes.
“Any time a major organization provides you with information and potential recommendations on making our streets safer, you gotta take a serious look at it,” says State Senator John Thrasher.
Thrasher says until some more details come in and he’s able to talk directly with law enforcement, the State Attorney’s Office, and other possibly affected agencies, he can’t give support for the change. He is, however, more than willing to try to get those answers.
A message mirrored by State Senator Aaron Bean, who has a few lingering questions.
“Any time the federal government says do this or do that, we have to look at what else is involved,” Bean says.
Overall, however, he says the discussion itself should help raise awareness.
“Whether you’ve had one drink or two drinks, that little alcohol can still have a big impact on your ability to make decisions and drive,” he says.
Bean expects this will in fact come up in the next legislative session. He points to the bigger message of roadway safety that lawmakers started working toward this past year with a texting while driving ban and says something like this would be one more step down that road.