Lawmakers are looking to lower the blood alcohol limit from .08 to .05 in New York State.

A bill, sponsored by Senator John Liu, is calling to lower the legal limit in an effort to reduce alcohol-impaired driving accidents. It would lower the blood alcohol concentration required for driving while intoxicated from .08 to .05, and for aggravated driving while intoxicated from .18 to .12.

"Nearly 10,000 people are killed in alcohol related crashes each year and more than 173,000 are injured. Since the mid-1990s, even as total highway fatalities have fallen, the proportion of deaths from accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers has remained constant at around 30 percent of all highway fatalities; nearly 440,000 people have died in alcohol related crashes."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging lawmakers to pass the bill as part of the Crash Victims Rights & Safety Act. "The fact is the laws are still too lenient towards those who take a vehicle and turn it into a de facto weapon," de Blasio said.

The Crash Victims Rights & Safety Act is a package of 8 bills aimed at addressing speeding, holding reckless drivers accountable, combating impaired driving, and support those personally impacted by crashes. All but two of the bills would apply across New York State.

Crash Victims Rights & Safety Act Bills

  • Sammy’s Law — lower life-saving speed limits in NYC
  • Crash Victim Bill of Rights — guarantee rights and a voice for crash victims and their loved ones in legal proceedings
  • Speed Cameras 24/7 — allow cameras in NYC to protect people at all times
  • Dangerous Driving Act — hold reckless drivers accountable and prevent future crashes
  • Vehicle Safety Rating and Labeling — inform consumers of a vehicle’s danger level to pedestrians and cyclists
  • BAC .05 — lower blood alcohol content limit for DWI from from .08 to .05
  • Right to Safe Passage — require drivers to pass bicyclists at minimum of 3 feet
  • DMV Pre-Licensing — educate drivers about safely interacting with vulnerable road users

This isn't the first time lawmakers have tried to lower the legal limit in New York. A proposal in 2019 was met with a lot of criticism.

Utah is the only state in the country enforcing a .05 percent BAC law that passed in late 2018. The number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state dropped 47 percent, according to Transportation Alternatives.

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