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May 15, 2013 12:42 AM by Eric Ross

Proposal calls for tighter DUI regulations

The National Transportation Safety Board rolled out a new recommendation Tuesday aimed at cutting down on drunk driving across the country.

Approximately 10,000 deaths are belived to be caused by drunk drivers each year. It's a reality that hits too close to home as friends and family mourn the loss of Littleton police officer Kevin Denner who was killed last week by a suspected drunk driver.

"We can choose to accept the senseless losses or we can choose to act," NTSB Chairman Debbie Hersman said.

The NTSB wants every state to lower the legal definition of drunk driving from the current blood alcohol level of .08 to .05.

"If you lower that level, you're going to cast a wider net and end up getting more social drinkers that may have had two or three glasses of wine at dinner," attorney Steven Katzman said.

Here in Colorado, there's already penalties for those driving with a blood acohol level higher than .05 but less than .08. This is referred to as driving while impaired. According to Katzman, the penalties between a DUI and driving while impaired already carry similar consequences.

"The possible jail sentence, probation, public service hours and alcohol classes--there really isn't any difference between driving while impaired or driving under the influence," Katzman said.

While the American Beverage Institute believes this regulation targets casual drinkers, the NTSB disagrees.

"Most people can go out to dinner and have a glass of wine with dinner and not reach a .05 level," Hersman said.

MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Drivers could not comment at this time on whether they were for or against this proposal.




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