Some state lawmakers feel a .08 blood alcohol content is too high to drive, so they proposed a bill in the state Assembly and Senate to lower the legal limit to .05.
The proposed legal limit of .05 equates to about two or three drinks, depending on the size of the person, food consumption and time between drinks, among other factors, New Rochelle Captain Cosmo Costa said.
That’s a drink or two less than what’s currently legal.
“We recognize that .08 blood alcohol content is still too high, and other countries and states lowered it to .05 and so should New York,” said New York State Senator John Liu, who’s sponsoring the bill in the Senate. “There’s a big difference in cognitive abilities between .08 and .05, and this bill could save lives.”
The bill was first proposed by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz at the end of January.
There are also active bills to do the same thing in California and Michigan. Utah was the first state to adopt a .05 blood alcohol law in December.
The New York bill is currently pending in both houses.
The American Beverage Institute, a restaurant trade association, issued a statement opposing the bill.
Jackson Shedelbower, spokesperson for the Institute, called the bills “well-intentioned” but said they will do little to save lives.
“More specifically, the policy wrongly focuses limited traffic resources on moderate social drinkers, while ignoring legitimately impaired drivers who are responsible for the overwhelming majority of drunk driving deaths,” Shedelbower said in a statement.
Shedelbower said 92% of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involve someone with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 or above.
“These are the criminals (that) lawmakers should be targeting, rather subjecting someone who enjoys a drink or two over dinner with all the life ruining consequences of a DWI,” Shedelbower said.