Effort to Lower DUI Threshold by Nearly Half

There’s a bipartisan push in Olympia to lower the legal limit for driving with alcohol in your bloodstream.  Dan Frizzell has more.

Drinking and driving killed thirteen hundred people in Washington from 2010 to 2015.  While most of the drivers involved had blood alcohol content at or above the current DUI threshold of point-zero-eight percent, more than one in five were at less than that point-0-8. They drank, they drove, and they killed people, but the measurable alcohol in their blood didn’t reach that magic number.  For highway safety advocates, for lawmakers, and for relatives of those 1300 victims, the limit is too high, encouraging too many people to assume they’re OK to drive just because they don’t feel blind drunk.  State Representative John Lovick spent three decades as a Washington state patrolman and six years as Snohomish County sheriff.  Tuesday afternoon in Olympia he testified at a hearing in favor of his bipartisan legislation to lower the legal limit to point-zero-five.

“I have five grandchildren, and I always think about, do I want this person with a point-0-five percent alcohol in his or her blood, driving down the cul de sac that my five granckids would play on. Reducing the BAC level would reduce the number of fatalities and injury collisions on our roads. 

Lovick, a Mill Creek Democrat, cited studies by the National Transportation Safety Board that show significant impairment happens well below the current legal blood alcohol limit, including loss of peripheral vision, which is crucial while driving.  The House Public Safety Committee has scheduled a vote on the new DUI standard for Thursday morning.  In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.