Capitol Comments

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its report: “Reaching Zero: Actions to Reduce Alcohol-Impaired Driving.” A call to action, the report issued recommendations to curb the 10,000 alcohol-related yearly highway deaths. The easy take-away from the press release was the call for states to reduce their .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) DUI laws to .05 as it is in much of the developed world. Currently, all states define driving at or above .08 BAC as a crime.

This recommendation drew a great deal of press coverage; however, the report also calls for expansion of some other policies which didn’t necessarily make the headlines but that may prove to be far more politically palatable.

Partially in response to a 2009 crash on the Washington, DC Metro system, which killed nine, Congress made safety an underlying concern of federal transit policy. This tragedy, combined with the knowledge that while fatality rates have fallen in other modes, rates incurred from transit have stagnated, became a call for action for the federal government to not only better oversee the safety of America’s transit system but also to fundamentally change the way the transit sector considers safety.