Washington D.C. (February 5, 2020)—Today, Hawaii lawmakers will discuss lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving from 0.08 to 0.05 in the state. This 40 percent reduction will subject many Hawaii residents and visitors to jail time and all the life-ruining consequences of a DWI for consuming one or two drinks prior to driving.
Two pieces of legislation are being considered in committee that would lower the BAC limit to 0.05–SB 2234 and HB 2464. Going even further, SB 2510 calls for a zero tolerance law that bars any trace of alcohol in the body while driving. The American Beverage Institute (ABI) strongly opposes these measures and has submitted written testimony, as well as sent educational materials to lawmakers.
Jackson Shedelbower, ABI communications director, released the following statement:
We all want to improve road safety, but making criminals out of responsible consumers is not the solution. The vast majority of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the state involve drivers with BACs of 0.15 and above—three-times the proposed new level. These are the criminals lawmakers need to target with the full force of the law. Not someone who consumes little over a drink with dinner.
Research suggests having a 0.05 BAC is far less impairing than talking on a hands free cellphone. Are we now going to jail all of these drivers?