Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Science and Innovations

Report: States Need Stricter Drunk Driving Laws

CDC/Amanda Mills

A reportfrom the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says states need to adopt stricter laws about blood alcohol concentration to prevent fatal car crashes. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

Alcohol impairment accounts for nearly one-third of U.S. traffic fatalities, at 29 deaths a day. One of the report’s authors is Julie Baldwin, director of the Center for Health Equity Research at Northern Arizona University. She says states need stricter laws about blood alcohol concentration or BAC.

"We know that an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle begins to deteriorate at low levels of BAC, which can increase a driver’s risk of being in a crash," Baldwin says. "A number of countries have decreased the BAC laws to 0.05 percent."

In the U.S. only Utah considers it a crime to drive at 0.05 percent BAC. Arizona and all other states penalize drivers at 0.08 percent.

In addition to changing those laws, the report suggests higher taxes on alcohol and more restrictions on when and where it’s sold. Baldwin adds there’s a need for better alternative transportation, especially in rural areas.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
Related Content