Is There a New NY Blood Alcohol Limit on the Horizon?

Is There a New NY Blood Alcohol Limit on the Horizon?

A new bill recently introduced in the New York State Assembly would lower the legal blood alcohol limit from .08 to .05.

It would also lower the rate for aggravated driving while intoxicated.

This change is, in part, in response to National Transportation Safety Board recommendations. The NTSB recently urged all 50 states to lower the legal limit.

The bill is currently sitting with the transportation committee.

See also: Your Rights in New York DUI Cases.

Would lowering the limit save lives?

Other countries have had a 0.5 blood alcohol limit for some time. For example, Utah already has an 0.5 blood alcohol limit.

Some studies show drivers can show significant impairment at just 0.4 BAC.

DWIs and DUIs cause 31% of the car accidents in the United States.

But lowering the limit could have some serious ramifications for innocent individuals. If lawmakers adopt a standard this low,  you might even be able to fail a breathalyzer test by taking a dose of cough syrup.

These tests are notorious for false positives as it is. Lowering the limit could make the problem even worse.

And many critics believe the law targets social, moderate drinkers, not drunks. Is the purpose to make the roads safer? Or to give police officers even broader powers to make arrests?

See also: Traffic Crimes in New York City.

Fox News set out to put Utah’s strict DWI laws to the test. This meant testing breathalyzer results in controlled circumstances.

Some people experienced vast differences in results. One guy had eight drinks and was under the limit. Another  woman had two glasses of wine with dinner. She went over the limit on one test, but blew under the limit on another.

This tells us there’s no hard and fast rule that translates blood alcohol limits into a fixed number of drinks. You have to “guess” whether you’re too drunk to drive. This has always been a problem with DWIs. Drinking causes overconfidence. If you’re too drunk to drive, you may be too drunk to realize you shouldn’t.

See also: Falsely Accused? Know Your Options.

What should you do if New York lowers the limit?

A higher limit might make it prudent to stay out of the driver’s seat even after a single social drink. Or to buy and carry your own portable breathalyzer so you’ll have some idea what your BAC may be before you go.

Keep in mind even a 0.0 blood alcohol limit might not save you from an arrest, even now, while New York’s limit remains at 0.8. You can fail the field sobriety test because you’re nervous. Cops can just decide you looked impaired and take you in so they can force you to take a blood test.

So play it safe. Don’t drive if you’ve had a drink. Don’t drive if you’re tired. Any sign of impairment can land you in handcuffs.

One more piece of advice? Keep the phone number for the Law Offices of Julie Rendelman handy. If you get arrested you need strong legal representation. DWIs can be life-changing. Protect your life and freedom by hiring one of the toughest DUI/DWI defense lawyers you can find.