Reactions to NTSB stricter drunken driving rules - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowans React to NTSB stricter drunken driving recommendation

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University of Iowa student Stephanie Swaitlo says she refrains from driving even after just one drink.

'You can call a cab, there's many different options," Swaitlo said.

Swaitlo supports the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation to change the drunk driving threshold from .08 to .05.

"People shouldn't be driving anyway after they've been drinking," she said.

University of Iowa researchers say studies show stricter standards could have a positive impact.

"We would very likely see an incremental reduction in the number of drunk driving crashes, although any policy needs to be enforced it needs to be implemented, and it will take some time to roll this out across the United States," said Corrine Peek-Asa, associate dean of research at the University of Iowa's College of Public Health.

Researchers say countries that have changed their limit to .05 have seen striking reductions in the number of drunk driving crashes.

"As we look globally, the forward thinking policies are at a point 05 or zero tolerance, and so I think to reach the highest standard we can, we need to move toward those policies," Peek-Asa said.

But the recommendation isn't sitting well with the Iowa Restaurant Association which says the measure impacts the average consumer, not the habitual offender.

"They need to be corrected and they need to be fixed there, going to point 05, I don't think that's the way," said John Huntington, who will soon serve as the Iowa Restaurant Association's chair.

Huntington says a change would be bad for business.

He says restaurants saw a significant drop in liquor sales when the law changed from point 1 to point 08.

Members believe stricter standards could mean customers would be reluctant to buy even a bottle of wine with dinner.

'Which is dramatic especially when you're in an industry where every little penny and nickel counts to make a profit," Huntington said.

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