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Federal Agency: Lower Drunk-Driving Limits

(Image credit: Rita Juliana | Stock Xchng)

Is it safe to drive after a drink or two? Federal accident investigators are now saying that for some, even one alcoholic beverage may be too many before getting behind the wheel.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday (May 14) that states lower the cut-off for impaired driving from a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 to 0.05 in order to prevent some of the 10,000 lives lost per year to car accidents involving alcohol. For an 120-pound woman, that could mean that driving is illegal after one drink, according to the Associated Press. For an 160-pound man, two drinks could be too many.

The agency also recommended more sobriety checkpoints, and greater use of DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) courts.

Lowering the maximally allowed blood alcohol content to 0.08 cut drunk-driving deaths nearly in half, from 18,000 in 1982.

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Stephanie Pappas

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.