OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington could become the second state in the country to lower its legal blood alcohol level (BAC) for DUI offenses to 0.05% under a proposal discussed in a Senate committee Monday.
Senate Bill 5002 would lower the legal BAC limit from 0.08% if passed for anyone who is driving or in "physical control" of a vehicle.
BAC refers to the percentage of alcohol in a person's bloodstream.
Utah is the only state that currently enforces a BAC limit of 0.05%, with the other 49 states including Washington at 0.08%.
State Sen. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek), a former state trooper, is proposing the bill.
"I'm not saying this to be dramatic. I still have nightmares because of some of the things I witnessed, going to a fatal collision where a number of kids were killed," Lovick said in an interview with KING 5. "All of these things were preventable. A drunk driver makes the choice, and it's a bad choice, and they make the decision. You don't have to drink and drive. It's pretty simple."
Lovick also said of the more than 700 people killed on roads in Washington last year, over half were DUI-related.
If passed, the bill would take effect July 1, 2023.
A similar law took effect in Utah in 2018. A study found the number of crashes involving drivers under the influence decreased. The study also found nearly 25% of people who drink said they had changed their behavior.
Though there are several factors that go into how many drinks a person can have before reaching a a 0.05% BAC - such as age and weight - researchers estimate that two standard drinks of beer or wine within an hour will raise your BAC to around that level.
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