New York considers lowering DWI limit from .08 to .05; would become 2nd state to do so if passed

Utah is currently the only state to have such a low BAC limit.

News 12 Staff

May 21, 2021, 2:11 AM

Updated 1,065 days ago

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Long Islanders are weighing in on a push to lower the state's DWI limit from .08 to .05.
The measure, which was introduced by lawmakers from New York City, would lower the blood alcohol threshold. Utah is currently the only state to have such a low BAC limit.
Sen. John Liu says, "Scientifically and medically there is a big difference between .05 and .08. You start to lose a lot of your congestive ability. Your response time goes way up."
The more serious aggravated DWI limit would also be cut from .18 to .12.
Patrice Ghirardi, of East Meadow, says she would be in favor of lowering the limit if it means people can get home safely.
"If it makes you safer and it's safer on the roads for our children and our families I absolutely agree," says Ghirardi.
The news comes as Nassau and Suffolk logged a combined 25 DWI-related deaths since the beginning of 2019.
Marge Lee, an activist who's been fighting against impaired driving for more than 30 years, wonders if the bill would go too far.
"I feel very strongly about drunk driving," says Lee. "People should not be doing it. But are we going to punish people for having a drink?"
The legislation would effectively eliminate driving while ability impaired -- a lesser charge for people with a BAC above .05 and below .08.
Lee says she plans to speak with other advocates, and the lawmakers who wrote the bill. She thinks the law has to be realistic to have the right effect.
"Bad legislation is worse than no legislation," says Lee. "So if there's going to be new legislation let's make it solid legislation."


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