WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Transportation Safety Board released its recommendations for "Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Impaired Driving." One of these actions is a call to lower the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers from .08 where it currently stands to .05.

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman stated that "most Americans think we've solved the problem of impaired driving, but in fact, it's still a national epidemic." The chart below helps put things in perspective.

In Utah, impaired driving is a big issue - there were 12,532 arrests for DUI here in 2012. And that's just the people that got caught. MADD estimates that the average impaired driver has driven drunk 80 times before they are actually arrested. 

According to the news release, in calling for the reduced blood alcohol limit, the NTSB cited research that "showed that although impairment begins with the first drink, by 0.05 BAC, most drivers experience a decline in both cognitive and visual functions, which significantly increases the risk of a serious crash." More than 100 countries already have a .05 BAC limit for drivers, and the NTSB has recommended that all 50 states do the same.

Although the reduced blood alcohol limit garnered the most media attention, the NTSB had several other actions as part of its "Reaching Zero" plan. The graphic below shows these recommendations.

As law enforcement entities and traffic safety advocates work toward the ultimate goal of zero fatalities, addressing impaired driving will continue to present challenges. You can read the full report from the NTSB here.