Stricter blood alcohol limit fails to pass WA state Senate
Mar 10, 2023, 3:26 PM
A bill to lower the legal limit of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol has failed to leave the floor of the state senate before its deadline.
The legislation, SB 5002, would have lowered the Blood Alcohol Concentration that would constitute a DUI from 0.08 to 0.05.
Sen. Lovick calls for stricter blood-alcohol limit in Washington state
“When you see these signs around the state, 0.08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit, I think that’s just a terrible message,” the bill’s sponsor Senator John Lovick said. “It’s almost telling a person, and I hate to say it like this, that 0.08% BAC is okay, 0.08% BAC is not okay. I say this all the time. Impairment starts with the very, very first drink, and you shouldn’t be driving with alcohol in your system.”
The bill failed to pass the senate before the March 8 deadline for legislation to move out of the chamber of the bill’s origin in order to pass this legislative session.
Lovick’s idea to lower the blood-alcohol limit mirrors recent Utah legislation, which lowered its limit in 2019 and subsequently saw a drop in fatal vehicle collisions, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.
“A lot of people were concerned that the sale of alcohol would go down — it did not. People just don’t drive, and they’ve actually reduced their fatalities by 20%,” Lovick said. “People walking around are still alive because they lowered the limit and are holding people accountable.”
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Approximately 700 people died on Washington’s roads last year, according to Lovick, the worst it has been in the state since 1996.
Other statistics shared from 2022’s report include young drivers — people between ages 21 and 35 — accounted for more than half of fatal DUI-related crashes in the U.S. Men were also far more likely to drink and drive, as they were involved in 80% of all drunk-driving fatalities.