Lawmakers discuss proposal to lower the legal blood alcohol limit

Lawmakers push to lower blood alcohol limit
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 6:50 PM EST
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(WFSB) – Connecticut has an alcohol problem when it comes to driving.

In 2020, 40-percent of all crashes involved drinking.

Lawmakers are deciding whether to lower the legal blood alcohol limit.

Only one other state, Utah, has done this. New York and a few others are considering it.

The transportation committee heard strong testimony on why this will save lives.

“To be frank, Connecticut has a drunk driving problem,” said Garrett Eucalitto, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner.

Eucalitto said what we are doing isn’t working.

He supports legislation to lower the legal blood alcohol level from .08 to .05.

That same message is coming from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“In 2020, over 11,000 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol impaired drivers in the United States,” said Thomas Chapman, Chairman of the NTSB.

But some are skeptical.

“With any law change particularly on social behavior there has to be a concerted effort to create awareness,” said Sen. Tony Hwang (R – Fairfield).

Under the blood alcohol calculator, a man weighing 195 pounds can have two beers in an hour at 0.04%, and three beers in 90 minutes is 0.06%. Not drunk under current state law but drunk under the proposed level.

For a 130 pound woman, one glass of wine in an hour is 0.03%, but two glasses of wine in that hour is 0.08%, which is drunk under current Connecticut state law.

Dustin Church was 18 when he was killed by a drunk driver. His father said it’s positive step.

“Anytime you can education by bringing it to the forefront and making people more aware it has the potential to make things better,” said Skip Church, Dustin’s father.

This proposed law change would also apply to those operating boats.