If you worry about drunk drivers on the road, then news about a failed attempt to lower the drunk driving limit may be frustrating. According to the news, a bill was created in hopes of lowering the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from .08 to .05 percent. Unfortunately, it is dead and will not be heard this session.
The limit for hundreds of bills to move from the Senate to the House is coming up quickly, and this bill will not be moved out as part of the process. If Oregon was to lower the limit, it would be only the second state to do so, the other being Utah, which lowered the DUI limit from .08 percent to .05 percent.
Michigan’s lawmakers have introduced a similar bill to reduce the legal drinking limit, but every state has faced opposition from the alcohol lobby since drivers can already be arrested under the .08 percent limit if they are driving dangerously or showing signs of intoxication.
Drunk driving is a nationwide issue
Across the country, around a third of all highway fatalities are a result of alcohol-related errors. The alcohol industry’s lobbyists have gone as far as to point out that around 70 percent of those cases involved people whose BAC was .15 or higher, well above the legal limit. They argue that reducing the legal limit is unnecessary.
In Oregon, 543 people died in crashes involving drunk drivers with BACs above the legal limit. Eleven passed away as a result of drivers with a BAC of .05 to .08 percent, drawing into question if the limit should be lowered for safety reasons.