Fort Pierce Officer Mark Woodruff has seen firsthand the consequences of drinking and driving.
"Teenagers paralyzed from a DUI crash. A man who was killed when his girlfriend was driving drunk," said Woodruff as he drove through the streets of the city.
This year, Officer Woodruff has already investigated 60 crashes, many where alcohol was involved.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the number of people who die annually in alcohol-related crashes is down by about half in the last 30 years.
Their hope is that by lowering the legal blood alcohol content, the fatality numbers would continue to drop.
Officer Woodruff is in favor of dropping the legal blood alcohol content limit to .05.
"Even at .05, you have slower reactions and increased risk taking," said officer Woodruff.
.05 is about 2 to 3 drinks in an hour for the average male weighing 180 pounds. At point .08, the current legal limit, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says many experience impaired vision. At .10, there's poor coordination.
Now on the Treasure Coast, the most recent statistics show that between 2010 and 2011, the number of DUI accidents actually dropped 22% area wide.
"I think it's a hopeful sign. I think it shows that a lot of the education programs, a lot of the publicity on these DUI's has increased," said officer Woodruff.
But beyond the legal implications, there are also financial costs associated with DUIs. Officer Woodruff says between court costs and impound fees, a DUI can set you back up to 5-thousand bucks. That's if no one else is hurt.
Sarah Longwell, the Managing Director of the American Beverage Institute said in response to the NTSB proposal, "The recommendation is ludicrous. Moving from .08 to .05 would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior. Further restricting the moderate consumption of alcohol by responsible adults prior to driving does nothing to stop hardcore drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel."
The NTSB has no legal authority to change any state or federal laws.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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