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Doctor says 0.05 driver's blood-alcohol limit may not be enough

May 26, 2013 at 11:42 PM

CHICAGO, May 26 (UPI) -- U.S. proposals to lower the legal limit of a driver's blood-alcohol content from 0.08 to 0.05 may not go far enough, a U.S. trauma surgeon says.

Dr. Thomas Esposito, chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns in the Department of Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center near Chicago, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing that the legal limit for a driver's blood-alcohol content be reduced from 0.05 from the current 0.08.

"The rationalization by critics that it penalizes the person who only occasionally has 'one too many' or who only drinks 'socially' makes no sense," Esposito said in a statement. "One too many is just that; it's about impairment, not the number of drinks."

The odds of crashing increase exponentially when blood-alcohol content is higher than 0.05, as many studies document, Esposito said.

"Some states even have zero alcohol tolerance for teen drivers which seems to be effective in reducing injury," Esposito said.

In 2011, 9,858 people were killed, 350,000 injured and $132 billion spent as a result of drunken driving, Esposito said.