New study recommends lowering drunk driving limit
January 19, 2018 06:56 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Among their many priorities, lawmakers are looking to crack down on drunk drivers during this year's legislative session.
But one of New Mexico's neighboring states has already taken things a step further by lowering the drunk driving limit.
Last year, lawmakers in Utah lowered the legal blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05. Now, a new national study released Wednesday is recommending all states do the same thing.
According to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, scientists are now recommending all states follow Utah's lead in lowering the standard .08 BAC limit to .05 to help prevent some of the estimated 10,000 drunk driving deaths that occur in the U.S. each year.
"On lowering the blood alcohol content presumptive level of intoxication from .08 to .05, Mothers Against Drunk Driving takes no position," said Bert Parnall, spokesperson for MADD New Mexico.
Parnall says MADD does take a stance on enforcing the current anti-DWI laws being enforced in New Mexico, like the use of interlock devices.
"Which includes more high visibility law enforcement, including sobriety checkpoints, including more officers out there enforcing the laws that do exist," Parnall said.
According to the study's new recommendation, a 150-pound man could be over the .05 limit after two beers and a 120-pound woman could be over the limit after a single drink.
Parnall says MADD New Mexico is focused on preventing drunk driving – period.
"Lowering the presumptive level of intoxication to .05, I just want to be clear, that as I understand it as a lawyer and a spokesperson for MADD, even somebody that's at a .05 can be charged with drunk driving,” she said. “If there is evidence of impairment, .05 could still lead to charges of driving while intoxicated."
As for Utah, the new law lowering the drunk driving limit to .05 doesn't go into effect until Dec. 30. It faced a lot of opposition in that state, including from restaurant groups who said it will hurt tourism.
No lawmakers in New Mexico are currently proposing the change.
Updated: January 19, 2018 06:56 PM
Created: January 19, 2018 06:35 PM
Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved