State lawmakers, advocates push to reduce the BAC limit from .08 to .05

ROCHESTER, N.Y. For the 10th year in a row, some state lawmakers and advocates are trying to reduce the drunk driving standard from .08 to .05.

Every year the attempt has failed. But now advocates say there are some data that show it makes a difference and saves lives.

The first question that comes to mind is what does this mean when you go out to dinner? If the standard goes to .05 how many drinks can you have?

“I wish I could give you a solid answer to that,” said Lindsay Tomidy of Monroe County Stop DWI. “But I honestly can’t.”

Tomidy says there are too many individual factors: your size, your dinner, your medication.
Every person will be different.

Tomidy runs Monroe County StopDWI. She says Utah lowered its BAC limit from .08 to .05 five years ago and things changed.

“And they’ve seen a lot of success with less crashes, less injuries, less fatalities,” she said.

The drop to .05 is the National Transportation Safety Board’s most wanted change. Board member Tom Chapman says in the last 25 years, the percentage of deaths involving drunk drivers has virtually not changed.

“The evidence shows that lowering the legal BAC limit to .05 is one of the best tools we should be using to reduce traffic fatalities,” he said.

“This is a huge mistake,” said DWI attorney Ed Fiandach. “It’s a money grab. That’s what it is.”

Fiandach disputes the fed’s data and the argument that drivers are impaired at .05.

“This would mean more work for lawyers like you and yet you’re against it,” I said.

“I understand that but I do have a duty to the community and this is wrong,” he said. “This is absolutely wrong. Innocent people are going to be going through yearlong court proceedings, they’ll have to hire attorneys. This is wrong.”

Tomidy says a BAC of .05 affects your ability to see moving objects and steer.
The same bill last year never got a single vote in the state legislature.

Click here to see the current bill. Vote aye or nay and let the lawmakers know where you stand.