NTSB Member Dinh-Zarr Touts Lower BAC Laws

Her Dec. 11 blog post asks employers to support lowering the illegal BAC to .05 (g/dL) or lower and implementing primary seat belt laws in their communities they serve.

In a Dec. 11 blog post, National Transportation Safety Board Member T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, Ph.D., MPH, urges U.S. employers to support lowering the lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) laws and adopting policies to prevent distracted driving. "Employers have a responsibility to address transportation safety. Nowhere is this more evident than for employers with vehicle fleets," she writes. "Many employers develop policies and procedures to keep their staff safe on the roads because they know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among workers in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2003–2015, there were more than 23,000 work-related motor vehicle deaths in the United States. The issues on our [Most Wanted List], if addressed by employers, can help reduce this unfortunate statistic."

Her post asks employers to support lowering the illegal BAC to .05 (g/dL) or lower and implementing primary seat belt laws in their communities they serve. "More than 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes every year. We've recently received attention because of our efforts to end impaired driving and our recommendation to change BAC laws from .08 to .05 BAC or lower. Many peer-reviewed studies have shown that such a law would prevent impaired‑driving crashes. While commercial drivers already are required to comply with a .04 BAC limit, employers can be an important influence in the lives of their employees, as well as in the communities in which they operate, by educating their employees and spreading the word about the effectiveness of a .05 BAC law," she explains.

And Dinh-Zarr adds that "Good companies didn't just talk about distracted driving, they took action—as I've seen firsthand—to educate their employees and to change polices to prevent distracted driving. American companies with large fleets also have been some of the most vocal supporters of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. They have worked hard to support international road safety, and have contributed to nontraditional traffic safety efforts, like helmet campaigns and infrastructure programs that improve the road environment, especially around schools."

She writes that employers also should consider bringing vehicles with collision avoidance technology into their company fleets: "Systems such as collision warning and automatic emergency braking help keep drivers safe by mitigating or even preventing crashes. Employers could install onboard vehicle monitoring systems and recording devices, such as cameras, to help monitor driving activity and unsafe practices. These technologies require an investment, but that investment will go a long way toward reducing insurance and workers’ compensation costs—and ultimately toward preventing injuries and saving lives."

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