The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that the legal blood-alcohol content level for drivers should be cut by more than one-third.
The staff of the NTSB is calling on the government to reduce the so-called BAC from .08 percent to .05 percent, reports ABC News.
"It will happen," Robert Molloy of the NTSB tells the network, adding, "We are behind the world."
The federal government can only recommend to states what the blood alcohol count should be. Currently all 50 states use the .08 percent figure.
The NTSB staff is also asking for increased penalties for drunk drivers and more technology including a "sniffing flashlight" for police officers to detect the smell of alcohol.
The staff report concludes that if the BAC rule is lowered the move could save up to 800 lives a year, said ABC.
The American Beverage Institute, however, called the NTSB's recommendation "ludicrous" and the "latest attempt by traffic safety activist groups to expand the definition of 'drunk.'"
"Moving from .08 to .05 would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior," Sarah Longwell, managing director of ABI, told ABC.
"Further restricting the moderate consumption of alcohol by responsible adults prior to driving does nothing to stop hardcore drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel," she said.
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