From the 21-year-old drinking age to the .08% blood alcohol level now recognized nationwide as evidence of being drunk, the threat of losing federal highway funds has kept America's states from straying on booze laws. So get ready for the .05% drunken driving conviction.
A new push by the National Transportation Safety Board will decrease the legal level of booze in your blood from the current .08% to .05%—basically it's going to be illegal to drive at all after you've had any amount of alcohol.
The plan was announced in Washington this morning and will be pushed on all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The reason is hard to argue: One-third of all traffic fatalities in America involve drunken drivers. That's about 10,000 people killed by or in an automobile every year.
If the new limit sounds extreme, it's only because we're used to the .08% BAC limit. Most of the world follows the .05% cutoff, with only the United States, Canada and Iraq still sticking to the higher limit.
But what about drinking, which is a delightful activity that takes away some of the dull pain of existence? You can still drink, just don't get behind the wheel after you drink. It's easy, especially if you live in civilization where you can do your drinking and then stagger home like a pro.