Swiss relax alcohol driving limit for volunteer firefighters

The Swiss government is exempting volunteer firefighters who are called to emergencies from a near-total ban on consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Switzerland has a network of volunteer fire services that back up professional firefighters. Until now, they've had to observe the 0.01 percent blood-alcohol limit that applies to drivers of heavy goods vehicles.

The government said Wednesday the rule "led to problems in practice" given that such firefighters generally don't know they're going to be called on.

It said members of those services, as well as professional firefighters who get called out when they are neither on duty nor on call, will be subject effective Jan. 1 to the standard blood-alcohol limit of 0.05 percent — roughly two small beers — that applies to all drivers.