Houstonians react to NTSB recommendation for lower blood alcohol limit


by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News


Posted on May 15, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 15 at 7:20 PM

HOUSTON—Getting a drink is not a problem in Houston, but if federal regulators have their way having just one before you get behind the wheel could cost you.

The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending states drop the legal limit to .05, a level that would potentially put anyone under 160 pounds at risk of violating the law with just one drink.

"Essentially we would be saying no drinks. No drinks. Not a beer, a glass of wine," said Houston State Senator John Whitmire.

You might expect a law enforcement advocate like Whitmire to be cheering the loudest but he is not.

"It actually goes against public safety because it is so unrealistic to enforce a .05 that it takes you away from the more serious matters of drinking and driving above the current statute," Whitmire said.

Even the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving has reserved comment on the proposal, saying it only comments on its own research.

Whether the current law is working or not it is certainly heavily used. To see that, look no further than criminal court filings. Between midnight and noon Wednesday in Harris County, 13 DWI cases were filed.

What do drivers think? They are split.

"I think that it is pushing it too much. There are a lot of people who are social drinkers and I think that the two drink minimum is an acceptable standard," said one driver.

Another added, "Anything that can make people more socially aware to their fellow man lets go ahead and do it."

"To mandate something for an in the event of...that is always a concern," said another.

Just because the Feds mandate it, does not mean it will happen overnight.

It took 21 years for all states to switch the legal blood alcohol limit from point .10 to .08.