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Stricter policies proposed to reduce drunk driving

Late on a Friday or Saturday night, many people in Boston keep an eye out for drunk drivers. While Massachusetts is perhaps no worse than other states when it comes to drunk driving, it is nonetheless a problem that needs to be addressed. CNN estimates that drunk drivers kill one person every 51 minutes — often, including themselves.

But, will stricter policies put an end to drunk driving? That may depend on the policies proposed. One proposal in 2016 called for lowering the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05 percent. The National Transportation Safety Board proposed the change and even suggested going lower than the 0.05 to deter people from buzzed driving. The line of argument was that a low number meant that people could no longer negotiate with themselves about whether or not they could drink one or two more glasses.

Many bar owners are not thrilled about the suggestion, saying it is bad for business and puts too much of a squeeze on Americans. After all, people should be able to go out and enjoy themselves without worrying about passing a test on the way home — or so they say. Even so, more than 63 percent of drivers support the move to lower the limit. Other countries, such as Russia, Ireland and Canada, also support lowering the legal limit.

Another strict proposal included putting the squeeze on the alcohol itself. For example, hiking up taxes on alcohol. According to CNN, states that applied these types of measures actually did see a reduction in car crashes and fatalities resulting from impaired driving. Researchers claim that just a 10 percent increase in the strength of alcohol-related laws translates to 800 saved lives. But, will bar owners and their favorite patrons support such measures? Only time can tell.

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