A bill to lower the legal blood alcohol content limit to drive is making its way through the New York State Assembly. The proposed bill would change the legal level from .08 to .05. The National Transportation Safety Board has been encouraging states to do this for years, saying alcohol impairment is a leading cause of highway car crashes.
“.08 you have about 4 alcoholic beverages and you’re considered drunk, impaired it reduces your ability to concentrate, short term memory loss, difficulty controlling speed, reduced information processing in the brain, you’re impaired,” said New York State Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Richard Mallow.
Paul Guerrieri is an attorney who deals with DWI cases all the time. /he said he believes lowering to .05 would cast too wide a net and take away the severity of a DWI charge.
“When we talk about a DWI we are talking about a potential criminal conviction, something that does have an impact on people’s ability to get jobs and things of that nature,” said Guerrieri.
He said even with Uber and Lyft this may discourage people from going out. Kevin Roman owns Rochester restaurant and bar, The Old Toad. He said he believes his business would be impacted by this change.
“I feel like if some people wanna go out to have a good time they shouldn’t have to worry about having one drink possibly and getting arrested or getting pulled over,” said Roman.
The attorney explained there’s a DWI charge which is for anything .08 or above but below that there’s driving while impaired charge.
Depending on the severity this could include up to 15 days in Monroe County Jail or up to a $500 fine. He said knowing this he does not understand the state’s intention with lowering the minimum blood alcohol content level.
This is not the first time this bill’s been introduced in New York State and other states are also looking into it. In December Utah became the first state to lower the limit to .05.