We reduced the BAC limit to 0.05 in the 90's and this is why Australia has 5.7 deaths per 100,000 people (8 per 100,000 vehicles) and the US has 12.7 deaths per 100,000 people (15 per 100,000 vehicles). Because it sure as shit isn't because Australian's can drive.
Actually, the USA is at 10.4 as of 2011, and 1.1 per 100 million vmt, which works out to 6.8 per billion km.
Your death toll of 5.71 per 100k (2011 data), and 5.8 per billion km.
Results: You're still safer than we are even by distance driven, but we drive a HECK of a lot more per person. In addition, given that the proposal is, high end, expected to save ~8% of alcohol related deaths, which is in turn only 1/3rd of total deaths - that's about a 3% cut in death rate. That would drop us from 10.4 to 10.1 per 100k, and from 6.8 to 6.6 per billion km. Better, but still far short of your own.
For that matter, let's assume we ELIMINATE all alcohol related fatalities. That's 1/3rd of our deaths gone. That would get us down to about 6.9 per 100k people, still above your figure, and 4.5 per billion km, finally below your own. You're 15% safer per km driven, btw.
Conclusion: We have problems, and it's not all attributable to alcohol. Reducing the BAC allowed would help a little, perhaps. But it's edging into territory where treating driving as a privilege, and not a right, and getting marginal people out of the driver's seat would be beneficial. For that matter, getting tougher with driver's ed would help.
The answer to this is simple.
1. Offering a blood test doesn't alter the odds they will attempt to contest it in court.
2. Increasing 'fines and suspensions' doesn't cut it. Already you have the problem where we end up tossing convicts in jail because they can't pay their fines, and suspensions often don't do a thing here because the main result is they simply drive on a suspended/revoked license. Or get a waiver for 'work purposes'. Or they lose their job, making it even more unlikely that they'll be able to pay your increased fines.
3. Same problem as #2. They often simply don't have the money, and we already have your 'loser pays' system, more so than MOST countries. You think the lawyer to contest your DUI is free? Paid for by the defendant. Remember plea bargains? The USA is king of those. 90% of people end up pleading out for reduced sentences. But, raise the fines - oops, they're MORE likely to fight, because, well, they're bankrupt anyway if they plead! If you arrange such a generous plea bargain, then the legal hawks sit there and say you're suppressing justice because you're making it cheaper to simply plead guilty.
In recent years, Australian courts have ordered the installation of Alcohol (Ignition) Interlock Devices into cars driven by people with multiple high range DUI convictions. Personally I'd rather these people have their licenses torn up for life and their cars auctioned off, but that's just me.
That's fine. In my state you get one for the first DUI, no matter the range. Were you aware that many US States have required them for decades, even for the first? From what I'm seeing, in all the states I've checked you're getting it period for the 2nd, no 'high range' required.
I'm not saying that we don't have problems. What I'm saying is that reducing the BAC level isn't going to help much, which I backed up with some math and 3 citations. We need to do more to stop the HIGH BAC drivers - when they're driving at .24 and up, triple the current legal limit, making it so they're 5X the legal limit isn't going to change much.
Heck, given that the human psyche is often more affected by the certainty of punishment over the severity of it, a hand slap and $50 fine would probably be sufficient to stop 99% of drunk drivers if they were caught EVERY TIME. As is we probably catch them well under 1% of the time, all too often only because they got into a serious accident.
Do you have some reference showing Australia's rates before and after passing the .05 standard? Were they at .08 before that? Where they ever comparable to the USA? Did they do something in parallel, such as the AC's proposed designated driver programs? Which exist in the USA as well. Heck, the USA might be king of various 'ride home' programs.
I've gotten free non-alcoholic drinks all night as a DD
I've ridden buses and taxis home... BTW: I think a very good bit of advice to avoid getting a DUI is to simply NOT DRIVE to where you are going to be drinking. In order to get a DUI in that case you'd have to get a ride home THEN get in your vehicle.
I've heard of a bar that owns a few mini-motorcycles that fit into the trunks of cars. For a small fee an employee will drive you home in your own vehicle, then take the mini-bike back to work.
One crazy proposal I thought of was to forbid bars from having customer parking. ;)