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'An evaluation of the effects of lowering blood alcohol concentration limits for drivers on the rates of road traffic accidents and alcohol consumption: a natural experiment'

concluded ‘Lowering the driving BAC limit to 0·05 g/dL from 0·08 g/dL in Scotland was not associated with a reduction in RTAs’ (road traffic accidents)

The difference between .08 and .05 BAC, as far as driver impairment goes, I would imagine is rather negligible if measurable at all. As .08 being an indicator of being drunk and impaired seemed quite the stretch to me, but what do I know? Some people cant walk and chew gum at the same time, so who knows when some people cant be trusted to drive. I think phones and other driver distractions are more dangerous than the difference between .08 and .05 but that’s just me…

All this would do here in the states is help to fill up all those nice new privately owned prisons they have built for us instead of schools and other infrastructure. They want more customers, and they will surely find them using this new level. As far as accident reduction goes, who knows, that is the reason they will give us for such a move, but letting the public know the real reason would be less palatable. The incarceration corporations of the USA is very big business, to put it mildly. All of this speculation is just my opinion however… so “grain of salt” and all that, but that’s my take.


Utah recently lowered its to .05: it may be coming to a state near you soon.

A bit of “conspiracy theory” don’t you think?

Nearly any first DUI issued in any state could be plead down to reckless operation. points and a fine, retain your license. Second, 3rd, ect… larger and larger fines, revocation of license… Would take a LOT of habitual DUI violations to get you locked up in county jail, not prison. BIG difference.

I don’t agree with Utah dropping the BAC to 0.05. Especially in light of studies that say there would be no net affect on traffic deaths. The practical matter is that it means a 140 lb person having 2 drinks at dinner over the course of an hour is barely under the legal limit. Since BAC varies quite a bit with metabolism and such, that second drink is best avoided. The 0.08 limit would allow a 100 lb person 2 drinks at dinner with some lee-way before reaching the limit.

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During my lifetime, I have lost several friends to drunk drivers. Not one of the drunk drivers had a BAC of .08 or even .10. The lowest was .16 and the highest was .24. None of my friends were drinking when they were killed.

Studies I’ve seen point at the very drunk drivers as the biggest problem, by far. Dropping to 0.05 creates a whole new class of criminals, with no clear benefit.


It’s my understanding that a 3rd offense DUI in Mississippi is a felony. And I assume that means you do some state prison time? I’m not sure. I’ve never been brave enough to find out!

I doubt you’d do prison time. Maybe 30 days in the county lockup but I’m not a Mississippi lawyer.

If you want one of the reasons for the number of folks we have in actual Prison, thank the federal 3 strikes law passed in the 90’s and many states that elevate second and 3rd offenses to felonies for misdemeanors. Makes hitting that 3rd strike and life in prison surprisingly easy.

As a student of organizational behavior, I find it quite interesting that states are seriously contemplating legalizing pot but at the same time reducing the amount of alcohol one can have and still drive. Almost like karma since it was the alcohol industry that first put us on the path of the war on drugs. I guess I don’t want anyone impaired on the roads but the idea of a society with a core group of zombies with fried brains kinda depresses me. Of course the jury is out on the long term effects of pot on the brain but so far not encouraging. It’s that old 80/20 rule again though, and try as you might, you’ll never get to that core 20% group that causes most of the problems regardless what the legislatures do.

Maybe not. I don’t know anyone who’s tried for the 3rd. 30 days in the county lockup doesn’t sound fun either. Spoken by someone who spent a few nights in county lockup’s over 20 years ago :grimacing:

Yeah, well, I don’t think it’s like it used to be. I had an employee that got a 30 day sentence for something related to alcohol. So I had a choice, I could either let him sit there day and night and then fire him for not coming to work, or sign the papers to let him out for the day. I had mercy on him and let him come to work but he had to go back to jail at night. I don’t know if he got fed there or not. He actually died a horrible death so I’m told, so it really is a sickness that is difficult to deal with and again all the laws on the books aren’t gonna resolve it.

Legalize weed and collect a lot of taxes on the sale. States can even add a sin tax as there is on alcohol.

I’ve seen far more people in that state due to alcohol, than cannabis.

Unbiased logic rarely carries much weight in public opinion or political decision making. And regardless what the laws are on any issue we can each only expect the amount of justice that we can afford. Of course, considering that, we can quickly consider who is being protected by the laws and the justice system involved. 30 years ago the city judge here in this hick town was a notorious alcoholic, he in fact died from schlerosis(?) of the liver in his 40s. And just recently the city’s prosecuting attorney was charged with refusal to take a breathalizer test at a road block but was taken home.

As far as the blood alcohol level though, I personally agree that the law should err on the side of safety. It would be great if our local law enforcement and courts made a greater effort at discouraging the problem drivers from endangering the public instead of harassing anyone they take a notion to harass though.

I don’t live in Mississippi but I am close enough to get the local news there. Mississippi does have a strict punishment for third offense, but until recently, the records were kept at county level. That changed when a drunk driver who had two offenses in multiple counties killed several high school students. Records are now kept at state level.

Other states may still have this issue of keeping records at the county level. You may want to check your state. There is also the issue that this offender not only had one or two DUI’s in several counties in Mississippi, had had offenses in the surrounding states as well.

cirrhosis. And it’s unfortunate, but I’ve seen it even younger than that judge sadly.

We already have a ton of repeat offenders that drive without a license, so all lowering the limit would do is add more burden to our overburdened legal and prison system

Utah has a predisposition to hate alcohol, and I would submit the rest of the country’s alcohol laws should probably not be based on theirs. :wink:

Especially when you factor in the laws in many states surrounding “care, custody, and control,” which state that if you are in control of the vehicle, or could be in control of it, you are drunk driving. What this has shaken out to mean is that if you are drunk, sleeping it off in the back seat of your car with the keys anywhere inside the car, you get a DWI. Or if you’re drunk, and standing next to your car with your keys in your pocket, you get a DWI.

There was a case in my state where a guy got drunk in his apartment, then wanted to grab something from his car. So he went down to the parking lot and fell into a drunken sleep in his car. A neighbor thought he was in distress and called the cops. The cops got there, felt the hood and determined the car had not been driven at all, and said as much in the charging documents accusing him of drunk driving. He was convicted.

Meanwhile as @Mustangman said, people who are actually drunk and actually driving are allowed to continue to get drunk and drive because until you get a very high number of DWIs, you don’t even go to jail.

The DWI laws in this country are largely insane.


I expect there to be diminishing returns for this, just like everything else, but in the case of drunk driving, it doesn’t happen in a controlled environment, and this article suggests enforcement could be the reason: "One plausible explanation is that the legislative change was not suitably enforced…"

With that in mind, if you enjoy drinking so much that you can’t wait until you get home to do it, or arrange for a designated driver (like a friend, a taxi, an Uber, or a Lyft), maybe you have a drinking problem. The same goes if you can’t enjoy a social event without drinking.

I’ve said this to cigarette smokers for decades, but it goes for drinkers too: Can’t you wait until you get home to get your fix, like the rest of the world’s functioning addicts?

Well, no, because I have not spent a decade plus learning how to build interesting drinks.

Put another way, why can’t you wait to get home before you eat, instead of eating at a restaurant? Because the chef is better than you are at cooking. And the bartender is better than I am at bartending.

I think it’s incredibly inappropriate to imply that everyone who drinks outside of their house has an alcohol addiction.

The issue with .05 vs .08 has nothing to do with alcoholism or impaired driving, because at .08 most people are not impaired to a level that impacts driving safety. And its important to add that last, because at .001 BAC you are “impaired,” which is how MADD and the other over-the-top advocacy groups get away with claiming “impairment” at .08 and .05.

Well, look. I’m impaired every time I drive because I’m nearsighted, which means I wear glasses. Something happens outside the frame of my glasses, I won’t see it as clearly as the lucky jerk with perfect vision. If there’s a fingerprint smudge on my lens, I’m impaired.

The question is whether or not that impairment impacts traffic safety, and it does not. Neither does having one or two drinks max with dinner.

If you can follow a drink recipe, it doesn’t take a decade to learn how to make a drink.

I think it’s beneath you to engage in a straw man argument by misrepresenting my position. It’s not those who choose to drink outside the home who have a problem, it’s those who are unable to wait to drink until they can get their alcohol fix without putting others in danger who have a problem.

If you make arrangements for safe sober transportation, I don’t care where you drink or how much you drink. If you insist on endangering others because you’re unable to follow a drink recipe, well, let’s just say I’m sure you’re smart enough to follow a recipe.