Well, I knew this was coming, but I actually thought the new recommended level might be .04, which is what NHTSA has been asserting for years is the threshold for material impairment.
At this time, there is only a "recommendation" for a .05 BAC limit. However, as we saw with the push to lower to .08., the federal government is not afraid to drive its policies through by wielding its "spending power." The federal government can require numerous things in the states' traffic laws if the states want full access to highway funds.
Eventually, the states have no choice but to come around. In the case of the .08 limit, Minnesota was the last state standing on its .10 limit; but that changed in 2005, far too late for some people.
The NTSB claims that 1,000 lives per year can be saved with a .05 BAC limit. It also stated that other measures could be explored and implemented to reduce traffic death rates.
In my practice, I have seen OWI/DUI/DWI enforcement become more and more emphasized. That is obviously not a bad thing. However, at the same time, I have seen overt speeding and out-and-out reckless driving receive far less emphasis. My experience is that most people are cited for reckless driving, running red lights, or similar offenses,
after they are involved in an accident. The fact is, there is no "Mothers Against Speeders" or "Mothers Against Reckless Driving" behind the debate, at least none we've heard of.
As I write this, cars are boldly whizzing past my location in Onalaska at speeds easily approaching 45 m.p.h. in a 25 m.p.h. zone. Is this not dangerous and potentially deadly driving conduct? However, almost nothing is being done to curtail it, and someone will die. And how many other crimes will be committed while police are at the hospital getting blood drawn from drivers PBT'd between .05 and .08? I realize that OWI/DUI/DWI is unpopular, and for good reasons, but why should other, equally-dangerous conduct get a pass?
There are limited resources available for law enforcement. I believe that a thorough examination should be undertaken regarding the best use of those limited resources to promote public safety before lowering the legal BAC limit to .05.