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Will Lowering Drunk Driving Limit From .08 To .05 Save Lives?

Long Island DUI Lawyer

NY Lawmaker Proposes Lowering BAC From .08 to .05 – 

Currently, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in New York and every other state is 0.08%. For most drivers, driving at this BAC or higher means being subject to a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge, also known as a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Many states have lower limits in place for drivers under 21 and individuals driving commercial vehicles.

Recently, a New York state lawmaker proposed legislation to lower the legal BAC in the state to 0.05%. This is not new legislation; it is the reintroduction of a previous bill that cited data from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that supported a lower legal limit as a way to reduce drunk driving accidents and save lives.

How Many Drinks Does it Take to Reach a 0.05 BAC?

There are many factors that determine an individual’s BAC. The same individual can absorb alcohol much more quickly in one situation than another, given the following factors:

  • The rate at which the alcohol is consumed;
  • Whether the individual eats while drinking alcohol;
  • The alcohol content of the drinks consumed;
  • Whether the individual is taking other medications that interact with the alcohol; and
  • Whether the alcohol is mixed with carbonated beverages. When this is the case, the alcohol passes through the drinker’s stomach faster, increasing his or her BAC.

More concrete factors that affect how quickly an individual’s BAC rises are his or her weight and sex. Heavier individuals absorb alcohol more slowly, which means their BACs rise more slowly. Women’s BACs tend to rise more quickly than men’s for two reasons – in addition to generally being smaller than men, women’s bodies contain lower levels of an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks down alcohol in the body.

Most women’s BACs reach 0.08 in two drinks. Men usually reach this level in two or three drinks. However, this is highly dependent on the additional factors listed above.

Would Lowering the Legal BAC Limit Reduce Accidents?

Data from multiple sources says yes, a lower BAC limit would reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road and prevent fatal collisions. One state, Utah, passed a bill to lower its legal BAC to 0.05%. The new law will go into effect December 30, 2018.

In European countries that reduced the legal BAC to 0.05%, fatal collisions dropped from 8% to 12%. In regions of Australia where this lower limit was adopted, drunk driving fatalities dropped by up to 18%.

Work with an Experienced Long Island DUI Defense Attorney at 888-DUI-Lawyer

When you are facing a DWI charge, start working with an experienced DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible to develop a legal defense strategy for your case. You can fight your DWI charge, potentially have it reduced or dropped as well as save your license. Contact 888-DUI-Lawyer today to schedule your free, no-obligation legal consultation in our office. We’re available 24/7 and if you can’t make it to our office, we will gladly come to you. Don’t risk your future – call 888-DUI-Lawyer.



(c) Can Stock Photo / Bialasiewicz

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