Local Restaurants Question NTSB Recommendation to Lower Drunken Driving Limit

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

At the Courthouse Pub in Mason, the atmosphere brings in the people, but it's the alcohol that brings in the cash, but with the National Transportation Safety Board suggesting a new, .05 drunken driving limit, some are worried that profit could be in jeopardy.

"That's where the profit lies. You don't have a bit of profit in the food," said Richard Ghinelli, whose family owns the Courthouse Pub. "They can drop the legal limit down, but all that's going to do is keep people home and kill business."

The NTSB released the recommendation, along with several others, Tuesday, to help reduce the nearly 10,000 yearly deaths from drunken driving.
As a former Lansing police detective, Scott Ellis, who is now Executive Director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, disagrees with lowering the limit.

"People are already fearful at .08, 'oh I can't have one drink'. You could probably have three drinks and be okay," he said.

The MLBA says it's against drunk driving, but that lowering the limit to .05 isn't the answer and instead, the focus should be put on repeat offenders and those with BACs of .1 or higher."

"1.5 to 1.7 is the average arrest for drunk driving in the state of Michigan, so clearly that's our problem," said Ellis. "We need to target those people and prevent them from doing it again."

Mothers against drunk driving is taking a different stance, supporting the idea of taking drunk drivers off the road, but claims its three-part campaign of highly visible law enforcement, ignition interlocks and technology development is the best way to go in putting a stop to drunken driving altogether.

"Lower BAC levels are just one piece of the puzzle. We feel that our campaign provides the best opportunity to save the most lives," said Sue Strong of MADD Michigan.

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