WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Federal safety officials are recommending states lower the legal blood alcohol limit by more than a third - to 0.05 percent, which is down from 0.08 percent.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it is necessary to reduce the 10,000 drunk driving deaths each year in the U.S.
West Palm Beach Police say of those fatal crashes at the corner of Okeechobee Boulevard and Jog Road in February. 31 year old Sandy Christine Suarez was killed on February 23. "She had no chance. She never saw it coming," said West Palm Beach Police Officer Daniel Dillard, a DUI Investigator with the department. Dillard helped investigate the case. "It's hard to accept that their family member was just ripped away from them on that morning," he said.
Suarez was killed, investigators say, by a drunk driver, Anthony Joseph Giglio, 29, of Wellington. Police say Giglio had a blood alcohol level of .24, which is three times the current legal limit of intoxication.
That legal limit, though could be lowered from 0.08 percent to point 0.05 percent, if the new recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board is approved.
Officer Dillard welcomes the news, though, he knows knows that each person is impacted by alcohol differently; based on their body weight, gender, stomach contents, etc. "I think people would think twice and actually pay attention to how much they're drinking," he said.
Already, more than 100 countries use 0.05 percent as the legal limit for drunk driving. The agency says that is the level at which driver vision can be affected.
Critics of the NTSB proposal say it would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior.