Mothers Against Drunk Driving believes technology in cars could solve drunk driving issue

MADD not opposed to lowering blood-alcohol level

CLEVELAND - There's a push in Washington D.C. to lower the legal limit for drunk driving from .08 to .05. It's prompting strong reaction on both sides of this debate.

How much is too much too drink? The answer depends on who you talk to.

"It could be .02 or .03 they could show signs of impairment," Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. William Haymaker.

If you show signs of impairment in Ohio, you can be arrested regardless of your blood-alcohol limit. While your blood alcohol-level is not the focus in Ohio, it is in Washington D.C.

The National Transportation Safety Board voted to recommend states lower the legal threshold to .05. It's a proposal that has Clevelanders split.

"If it can save lives at the end of the day it's a positive for everybody. If people can't make the decisions on their own, hopefully the law will help them do it," Tim Coughlin said.

"An average person my size go have one drink I'm thinking it might push you over the limit," Paula Farrell said. "I know for myself one drink, eating and enjoying myself, I am still fully capable."

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is "neutral" on this recommendation.

"We're never against anything that's going to take or stop drunk drivers from being on the roadways," NEO Executive Director Julie Leggett said.

However, Leggett said she feels drunk driving is solved with a three-tier approach including DUI patrols, interlock devices for offenders and improved technology that can stop all drivers before they cause an accident or get arrested.

"I do believe long term the technology will make us a country with no drunk driving fatalities," Leggett said.

The government and car makers are investing millions in technology that would prevent any car from moving if the driver is over the limit. The technology is still in the research phase. The current prototypes use breathalyzer and skin sensing technology.

It's expected you may be able to choose this feature in a car, just like you choose if you want side air bags, in about five years. There is no estimate on the cost.

MADD said it believes this debate will continue for years.

"It was almost 20 years it took to get the national standard of .08 and some took longer than that," Leggett explained.

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