Yesterday, legislation was introduced in the New York Senate that would lower the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving from 0.08 to 0.05 BAC—a level that can be hit by a 120-pound woman after consuming little more than a single drink. The proposal mimics legislation that was proposed in the state Assembly earlier in the year, as well as active bills in California and Michigan. Utah was the first state to adopt a 0.05 BAC law in December of 2018. The American Beverage Institute—a restaurant trade association—strongly opposes the measure.

Jackson Shedelbower, communications director of the American Beverage Institute, released the following statement:

I have no doubt supporters of Senate Bill 5117—as well as previously introduced Assembly Bill 3208—are well-intentioned, but lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving by 40 percent from 0.08 to 0.05 BAC 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. In fact, 92 percent of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involve someone with a BAC of 0.10 or above—a level that surpasses the current 0.08 BAC standard and is double that of the new proposed one. These are the criminals lawmakers should be targeting, rather than subjecting someone who enjoys a drink or two over dinner to all the life ruining consequences of a DWI.

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