Idaho Falls
68° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds

Local cops agree with lowering standard for being legally drunk

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: May 15 2013 09:48:42 PM CDT

For years, drivers who have had a couple of drinks haven't been considered legally drunk until reaching a .08 BAC.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

In all 50 states, drivers with a blood alcohol concentration .08 and above are considered unfit to drive and could face jail time.

Now, the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending all states reduce that standard to .05.

The .03 difference doesn't sound like much, but it could mean the difference between life or death. 

For years, drivers who have had a couple of drinks haven't been considered legally drunk until reaching a .08 BAC.

Officers in Idaho Falls, support the NTSB's recommendation to lower it. 

"In about 100 other countries that have implemented that, apparently within 10 years, it has dropped their DUI fatality rate in half," said Sgt. David Frei with the Idaho Falls Police Department. 

A drink is either one shot of liquor, a 5-ounce glass of wine or one beer; all containing the same amount of alcohol. 

But it all depends on how your body processes it. 

"There are some basic averages that we can talk about," said Officer Case with the Idaho Falls Police Department. "A drink is usually worth about a .015 so to get to an 0.5, you'd have to have a few drinks."

For a 130-pound woman, three glasses of wine in an hour would put her at .08, but she would hit .05 with just two glasses. 

"Impairment starts with the first drink," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NTSB chairwoman. "By .05, most drivers experience diminished visual function, increased drowsiness and reduced vigilance."

The NTSB unanimously approved changing the BAC standard to .05, but they can't enforce it.

That's up to the states and the Department of Transportation.

Advertisement