Washington – A prestigious scientific panel recommends that states significantly lower their drunk driving thresholds as part of a plan to eliminate "totally preventable" driving of 10,000 alcohol deaths in the United States each year.
The 489-page report commissioned by the United States government by a panel of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released on Wednesday throws the weight of the scientific body behind reducing blood alcohol concentration threshold 0.08 to 0.05. All states have 0.08 thresholds. A Utah law passed last year that lowers the state threshold to 0.05 will not go into effect until December 30.
The amount of alcohol required to reach 0.05 will depend on several factors, including the size of the person and whether the person has recently eaten. A 150-pound man could exceed the 0.05 limit after two beers, while a 120-pound woman could outgrow it after a single drink, according to the American Beverage Institute, a national group of restaurants.
The panel also recommended that states significantly increase alcohol taxes and make alcohol less convenient, including reducing hours and days when alcohol is sold in stores, bars and restaurants. The research suggests that a doubling of alcohol taxes could lead to an 11 percent reduction in deaths due to traffic accidents, according to the report.
It also requires taking vigorous action against sales to people under 21 years of age or who are already intoxicated to discourage excessive drinking. limits in the marketing of alcohol while funding campaigns against alcohol similar to those against smoking.
All proposals are likely to attract fierce opposition from the alcohol and restaurant industries. The beverage institute pulled out full-page newspaper ads opposing the new Utah law that presented a fake police photo under a headline that read: "Utah: come on vacation, leave on probation."
But the academies report notes that "alcohol – dismantled driving remains the deadliest and most costly hazard on American roads," accounting for 28 percent of road traffic fatalities. "Every day, 29 people in the US Die in alcohol-related accidents and many more are injured Forty percent of the dead are people other than the drunk driver.
Rural areas are disproportionately affected. , 48 percent of drunk driving deaths occurred in rural areas.
The report says that many strategies have been effective in preventing drunk driving, but "a multi-level coordinated approach across multiple sectors will be necessary. to accelerate the change. "
" The problem is not insoluble, "the report said.
From the early 1980s to the early 2000s. 000, there was significant progress as a result of an increase in age to drink up to 21, decrease in blood alcohol threshold, and other measures, the report said. But since then, progress has stagnated and has recently begun to reverse.
Measures to address drunk driving can not wait for the advent of self-directed cars that are immune to the lures of a cold beer or a good wine. Too long for autonomous vehicles to replace all human-driven machines on the road, said panel president Steven Teutsch, senior health and economic policy researcher at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
"Meanwhile, we have 10,000 people killed per year and we should do something about it," he said.
The report cites studies showing that the United States lags behind other high-income countries in the prevention of drunk driving deaths. More than 100 countries have adopted the lower 0.05 threshold. In Europe, the proportion of deaths due to traffic accidents attributable to drunk driving was reduced by more than half within 10 years after the elimination of the standard, the National Council on Transport Safety said in 2013. The council Security also recommended the 0.05 threshold.
Beverages have changed significantly in the last 25 years. "They are more affordable, much more varied and more widely publicized and promoted than in previous periods," the report said. The lack of uniformity in the sizes of the portions and the combination of alcohol with caffeine and energy drinks make it difficult for the drinkers to estimate their level of deterioration.
The report was commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which asked the academies what strategies to reduce drunk driving have proven effective.
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