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Should the threshold for DWI be lowered to 0.05%? NYS lawmakers push for change

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

New York State lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would lower the legal blood alcohol content threshold for driving while intoxicated (DWI) from 0.08 to 0.05. The bill has been backed by Democratic Assemblywoman JoAnn Simon and State Senator John Liu, who claim that a cultural change is taking place with regard to drinking and driving.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been studying drunk driving for years and is now recommending a BAC limit of 0.05 for all states.


State Senator John Liu says that lowering the BAC limit will help reduce crashes and save lives. He claims that a BAC level of 0.05 already impairs a person’s visual, motor, and cognitive abilities, and that the bill is not about trying to determine how many drinks a person can have before driving, but rather encouraging people not to drive after drinking.

He says that the bill would not increase penalties for a DWI, but would only change the measure to deter people from making poor decisions. Penalties for a DWI currently include a mandatory fine of $2,500, up to a year in jail, and a revoked driver’s license.

The bill will first need to go to the Senate Transportation Committee before heading to a vote in the State Assembly and Senate. Republican lawmakers have yet to comment on the bill.