Federal proposal to lower legal limit hits home for some

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on May 18, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Updated Saturday, May 18 at 6:00 PM

How much is too much?  It's a question a lot of folks might be considering over cocktails this weekend, after the federal government proposed lower the legal blood alcohol level for drinking, from .08 to .05.

For people like Lauren Hale and Alicia Bowers of Seattle, it's an easy decision.

"I'm totally in support of that," said Hale. 

The two friends didn't always feel that way, but a recent tragedy changed their minds.

'It's just not worth it.  You're affecting other people, not just yourself," said Bowers.

One of their close friends lost her mother last month, in a fatal accident on State Route 520.  Authorities have said Morgan Williams was killed by a suspected drunk driver.

"Morgan was on her way to work, Eastbound 520, at 5:30 a.m. or so, and the driver, a 25-year-old guy, did a U-turn, came back the wrong way, and hit her head on," said Hale.

Now, Hale and Bowers say a lower legal limit might force people to think twice about getting behind the wheel.

"Maybe if it's a little bit stricter, people will be way more on guard and be like, 'Oh I shouldn't drive,'" said Hale.

KING 5 spoke to other social drinkers who feel the exact opposite.

"It's a terrible idea, a horrible idea," said John Hotchkiss.  "Like who will be able to have anything to drink?  A .05 would be like walking by and sniffing alcohol."

Hotchkiss and others say it will simply overload the system.

"I think overall it won't pass, there's be too much against it," said Jordan Tursi.  "But it still makes me a little nervous.

The federal government wants every state to approve .05 blood alcohol level for driving.

It is too late to bring up the issue during this year's special session in Washington, but KING 5 has learned many members of the legislature support the idea.

State troopers, meanwhile, say it's not all about a specific number.  In Washington, you can be arrested for impaired driving even if your blood alcohol level is below .08.

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