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Texans Favor Lowering the Legal BAC Limit to .05

Although Texas has strict laws and punishments for drunk driving, new research suggests that people in the state favor lowering the legal BAC limit. According to a poll from Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute, 54% of people in the United States support lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from .08 to .05.

A closer look at the data shows that 60% of Texans would like to lower the legal limit from .08 to .05, while 48% of Texans wouldn’t mind seeing the limit set at 0.0%. Speaking about the number of Texan’s that want to lower the limit to 0.0%, Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., director of the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute, said the following, “That’s the one that shocked everybody. I would be guessing just like you would be: why is that?”

While Utah will be introducing a .05 limit next year, Texas lawmakers haven’t stated whether similar laws would be considered for the Lone Star State.

Weatherford Police Chief Lance Arnold, said “I think the question is really one of impairment and inability to operate a motor vehicle safely regardless of the BAC limits. I have conducted hundreds of alcohol workshops while training police officers in field sobriety testing. I have seen people be impaired at .04 and I have seen people not be impaired at .08. The problem really is two-fold. A blood or breath alcohol concentration is a very objective number.”

According to Dustin Kennedy, a Hudson Oaks Detective, lowering the BAC might help to keep more drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. Kennedy said, “By lowering the BAC to .05 it will allow for the enforcement of driving while intoxicated to be more stringent; thus, taking more impaired drivers off the public roadways.”

A 2017 report stated, “The meta-analysis of international studies on lowering the BAC limit in general found a 5% decline in non-fatal alcohol-related crashes, a 9.2% decline in fatal alcohol-related crashes from lowering the BAC from .10 to .08, and an 11.1% decline in fatal alcohol-related crashes from lowering the BAC to .05 or lower.”

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