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Question of the day

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

* Sun-Times

Secretary of State Jesse White believes the idea of reducing Illinois’ drunk-driving threshold merits “further study,” his office confirmed Tuesday after a federal agency recommended all states scrap their .08 DUI standards.

The National Transportation Safety Board urged all 50 states to lower their drunk-driving limits by nearly half from .08 blood-alcohol content to .05 blood-alcohol content.

“It’s an issue that needs further study. We commend them for looking into this and the work they’ve done. But we feel at this point, it needs more study to go to .05,” White spokesman Dave Druker told the Chicago Sun-Times. […]

A 180-pound man could drink no more than two 12-ounce servings of light beer in an hour to stay below a .05 blood-alcohol content, according to an online blood-alcohol calculator maintained by the University of Oklahoma.

* The Question: Should the DUI limit be lowered to .05? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

customer surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Lil Squeezy - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    No. I may be wrong about this, but my recollection is at .08 most can have 3 beers over 3 hours. That does not seem excessive to me. I would be concerned that those without much body weight could be given a DUI for a glass or 2 of wine. At that point, why not make it 0.

  2. - Anon. - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:30 am:

    Once again the solution to a criminal act is to make another law to be ignored. The reason the .05 limit works in most European countries is that the first time you’re caught driving drunk is the last time you drive, period. No “double, secret probation”

    An old Zen saying is “Looking at the moon, is not the moon”.

  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:31 am:

    Yes. Actually, I think 0 alcohol is appropriate. Even small amounts of alcohol can cloud judgment and coordination.

    Change is coming. Self driving cars really are going to be a reality in the next decade or two. Some of the features are already available in some cars. The drop in highway deaths should be huge, including deaths from drunken driving.

    In the meantime, ,05 is a step in the right direction. ,00 would be better.

  4. - siriusly - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:31 am:

    you mean “zero . . .point . . .zero”

  5. - cunobarragan - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    drunk drivers cause many deaths and they are preventable-no other analysis necessary.

  6. - Realchicagohousewife - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    As long as it is well publicized and the public gets informed as to how much alcohol you’d have to imbibe in a certain amount of time to go over the new threshold I think it’s a good idea. I think it will help cut down on alcohol consumption and driving. Hopefully people will just remain sober if they are driving.

  7. - Skeeter - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:36 am:

    People remain confused about the whole “don’t drink and drive thing.” This may keep some dangerous people off the road.

    We also need to treat DUI offenders like real criminals. Too many have multiple convictions and no real jail time.

  8. - RonOglesby - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:38 am:


    Typically, for a 180lbs man, its .02 per drink per hour.

    So if you drink two drinks in 60 minutes the AVERAGE 180 man is at .04 And your process/lose .02 per hour without a drink.

    my question is they use these stats, but what is the .05 based on? We were told the .10 and then the .08 was where someone became impaired “enough” to the point they should not drive. Compared it to talking animatedly, or having enough medicine, etc. What is driving the change?

    I mean you have two drinks with friends over dinner (two glasses of wine) and the first one is bigger than a typical “glass” and you are probably at .05

    changing it just to change it doesnt do much good. If the true goal is to have no drinking and driving then make it 0.0. Seems to me its just the next step to that anyway. lets make the jump.

  9. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:39 am:

    Does it have to be all or nothing? Maybe .05 gets you a fine, probation, suspended license, training, etc but .08 remains the $10k fine, jail time, revoked license, etc.

  10. - cassandra - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    I believe that the US in general has higher limits than many countries around the globe. In fact, I believe it’s 0 in Japan.

    .05 is an improvement.

  11. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    The earliest legal limit was 0.15% BAC. It was eventually reduced to 0.10%. After many years of effort, Sec. of State Ryan was able to get it to 0.08%.

    Each time there was resistance from the alcohol industry. Is there anyone who thinks we should go back to 0.15%? The fact is the legal limit for CDL drivers is already 0.04%.

  12. - TRL WGN 1 - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    I voted No.
    How many accidents are caused by those at or near the current limit of .08? Most if not all accidents I have read about, the driver was WELL over the legal limit. Lowering the limit won’t change this and will just make even more casual drinkers into criminals.

    If anything, do a better job of educating people now about how much they can legally consume before getting behind the wheel, if that is in fact the problem.

  13. - Voltaire - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:46 am:

    @ Skeeter “We also need to treat DUI offenders like real criminals. Too many have multiple convictions and no real jail time.”

    This is key. Far too many people with multiple DUI convictions are still allowed by the government to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

  14. - titan - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    The threshold needs to be set at a level where driving/judgment is significantly impaired.

    What is the scientific data on driving impairment at 0.8 versus 0.5 ?

  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    I voted no! Big brother getting bigger, and even more intrusive into our lives.

  16. - reelpro - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    My uncle was killed by a drunk driver. I would vote for .00 also. Alcohol behind the wheel is a scourge on society.

  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    I voted No! Another example of Big Brother growing bigger and a further of government intrusion into our lives.

  18. - Voltaire - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    @ Anon “I voted No! Another example of Big Brother growing bigger and a further of government intrusion into our lives.”

    Yeah! We should be able to risk our lives and the lives of others as we drive dangerously all over government built-and-maintained roads!

  19. - Guzzlepot - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    No. I think .08 is low enough. It seems like we are on a slippery slope to where you can’t have any alcohol in your system.

  20. - The Muse - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    After living overseas on a few different occassions, I’ve noticed that Europeans are much more careful when it comes to getting a DUI because of the low-threshold and that they cost a ton of money.

    Saying that you’re “just a little buzzed” will no longer be grounds to justify driving - it will be a reason not to.

  21. - RonOglesby - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:00 pm:


    yes and in those deaths and accidents today what is the average or even the lowest typical % of blood alcohol? if it is above the .08 then what does lowering to .05 do? nothing really.

    if the goal is 0.0 then just do it.

  22. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    I voted no.

    Some study would not be a problem though. There was no scientific basis to assert that there was a public danger from driver’s who’s BAC was in the range of .099 to .08. It was sold on the basis of lower is better. The NTSB makes the assertion that 1/3 of the traffic deaths involve alcohol. Without studying whether that number is an overstatement, they do not seem to point out what percentage of these traffic deaths involve drivers with a BAC .079 to .05 range.

    Have the study show what percentage of injuries and traffic deaths are attributed to drivers in the .079 to .05 range. You can then assess whether changes in the allowable BAC levels warrant the proposed changes.

    My experience is that drivers involved in the majority of BAC related accidents are substantially over the current limit. Criminalizing a new cohort of drivers will not make a difference in addressing the highway death rate. (Which by the way is bouncing around all time lows these days.)

    There is a ton of money being made by government and lawyers rigorously enforcing the current laws. Is it possible that the revenue stream is falling and they want to prop it up?

  23. - Endangered Moderate Species - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:03 pm:

    WCIA 3 ran a story last night featuring bar patrons volunteering to a breathalyzer. One individual had not even finished one beer and blew the .05.

    It seems each persons metabolism registers differently on the breathalyzer test.

    I voted no until more information can be found that this a fair test.

    A DDI conviction follows a person forever and presents many negative professional and social connotations.

  24. - Out Here In The Middle - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:04 pm:

    I voted no. I certainly support reducing incidents of drunk driving but “zero” is not a real goal. NTSB wants zero DUI deaths. IDOT wants zero IL highway deaths. But we’re dealing with people and people are erratic & fallible. Set the BAC at 0.0% and impose life sentences for first offenses and you will still have the occasional accident caused by alcohol. Government cannot impose perfection on the world — no matter how good the headlines are. We should adopt realistic goals and impose limits & sanctions based on analysis of fact.

  25. - Skeeter - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    “presents many negative professional and social connotations.”

    Being mangled in a car wreck because somebody had too much to drink also leads to negative professional and social connotations.

  26. - RonOglesby - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:13 pm:


    Yes, being mangled in a car wreck by a drunk is a terrible. BUT, as mentioned previously, if statistically its shows that the overwhelming majority of alcohol induced accidents are from people well over .10 and there is no significant difference between .079 and .05 then you are classifying/branding someone a drunk driver and placing them in that same group as those that kill and drink to excess and drive.

  27. - Wensicia - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    First, I’d like to see some data related to accidents caused by people under the .08 law but still registering alcohol in the blood.

    I believe repeat DUI offenders under the current law are the problem.

  28. - Fred's Mustache - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    No. I already feel that .08 is a fairly low threshhold. Every time you hear about those car mangling wrecks, its always because the driver is two or three times over the legal limit.

    Ny problem is that ordinary people do not know how to fashion their behavior to be in compliance. How many drinks does it take to get to .08 let alone .05 - If the goal is to have people drive with no alcohol in their system, then just be clear about it, and make it .00. Honestly, however, I do not think that is a realistic approach. Not everyone has access to cabs or public transportation. Rather than risk a DUI, people may just decide to stay home - not good news for many businesses.

  29. - Anyone Remember? - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    These people (who have a point of view) think impairment starts at .03%

    What’s the latest in medical research say?

  30. - Skeeter - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    “My problem is that ordinary people do not know how to fashion their behavior to be in compliance.”

    How about this? If you are going to drink, don’t drive.

    That’s probably the easiest way to fashion your behavior to avoid this sort of stuff.

  31. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    The drop from 0.10% to 0.08% was smaller than the new proposal. During the 90s, we heard the same arguments that the small drop wouldn’t make any difference, and that motorists from 0.08-0.09% didn’t constitute any problem anyway.

    Risks of crashing are higher for higher BACs. That means risks are higher for 0.08% than for 0.05%. At 0.05%, however, a motorist has a significantly higher risk of crashing than at 0.00%.

    Is 0.04% too low for truckers? Should it be raised if lower BACs don’t cause any problems anyway?

    Gun advocates fairly ask if all the other states are all wrong who allow concealed carry. By the same token, are all the other countries wrong that have 0.05% or lower?

  32. - Fred's Mustache - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:29 pm:

    ===How about this? If you are going to drink, don’t drive.===

    Yeah I get it. But I don’t think that someone who has 2 or 3 Miller Lite’s at a family party is impaired. Maybe I grew up around a bunch of criminals, but to me, thats just not realistic.

  33. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:31 pm:

    voted NO, just because I don’t like the idea. Rich, you’ve been known to spend some time at various bars-how would you vote? (And I don’t think your opinion would affect the votes on here)

  34. - Amalia - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:40 pm:

    what Fred’s Mustache said. and while I get that the percentage is what is to be measured, it does not translate for people. perhaps if those concerned did a campaign of stop at two drinks it would mean something to the average person drinking. maybe I have missed such a campaign, but telling people that .05 or.08 % is the max is confusing to math challenged.

    is there are chart like BMI but for drinking?

  35. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    @reformer -

    Having 0.05% or lower BAC isn’t a guarantee of safer roads with less fatalities.

    For example, South Africa has a 0.05% BAC and more fatalities than the U.S. per capita and per vehicle.

    If people want to compare other countries here’s the BAC content limits by country:

    Here’s the road fatality stats:

  36. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:46 pm:

    For drivers under 21, the legal limit is 0.00% BAC. If 0.05% is too low, then is 0.00% totally unreasonable??

  37. - Skeeter - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:51 pm:

    “But I don’t think that someone who has 2 or 3 Miller Lite’s at a family party is impaired.”

    Back in the days when I used to defend these cases, I heard that every time. Nobody THINKS they are impaired. Everybody thinks they are fine.

    And then some innocent person ends up with a permanent scar on her face or a TBI, and people like me have to convince jurors that it is just a little scar and the brain injury is not all that bad, as brain injuries go, and not worth much money at all.

    I no longer handle these cases. I got too fed up with the clients. Drive drunk and injure somebody? I hope you lose everything.

  38. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:52 pm:

    == I don’t think that someone who has 2 or 3 Miller Lite’s at a family party is impaired.==

    How many hours are they at the party? If they spend two hours at the party and have three beers during that time, then they won’t be 0.05% BAC or higher when they drive away. The body metabolizes about one drink an hour.

    On the other hand, if they chug three beers in five minutes and leave, then they likely would exceed the proposed new per se limit.

    My guess is that Fred’s family fell into the former category. Frat brothers, however, might fall into the latter group.

  39. - law abiding citizen - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    There is some impairment as low as 0.02 with reduced visual acuity and reduced reaction time. personally I would prefer 0.0 to be the law but I know that is unrealistic. I don’t drive if I’ve had one drink but I know that’s unusual. Part of the problem is people don’t realize when they are impaired.

  40. - chefjeff - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    I voted no - wished there was a button for Hell NO. Enforcement is spotty with a disproportion of poor, minority, young drivers getting stopped. I would require scientific evidence the .05 would actually save lives vs a .08 standard. The new law would have a chilling effect on bars and restaurants.

  41. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:18 pm:

    drunk drivers cause many deaths and they are preventable-no other analysis necessary

    Well besides the obvious argument that more people are killed by cars going over 10 miles an hour than slower than 10 miles an hour so lets cut all speed limits to save lives…

    But look here

    Most common BAC in a fatality is .18, and 70% of all fatalities were with a BAC of .15 or higher.

    Only 6% of traffic fatalities occur when the BAC is between .01 and .07 (62% occur at a BAC of 0).

    So you are at best going to eliminate less than 1,000 deaths as year and that is assume that every crash in the 0.01-0.07 range was related to BAC, which is not the case).

    Spend the money on enforcement and going after the drunks, not the .01 to .05 folks.

  42. - jerry 101 - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:23 pm:

    Consider this. (And, sorry that this ended up being a lot logner than I planned)

    Total motor vehicle deaths nationally in 2010: 32,885 In 1999: 41,717 In 1991: 41,508 (

    Total drunk driving-related deaths nationally in 2010: 10,228 (31% of all motor vehicle deaths) In 1999: 12,555 (30%) In 1991: 15,827 (38%) (

    So, total motor vehicle deaths have decreased over the past 20+ years even as the overall population has increased (in 1991, the US population was about 252 million, in 1999 it was about 273 million, and it was about 309 million in 2010). The rate has plunged in the past 10 years or so, actually (from about 15 per 100,000 population in 1999 to about 10.6 per 100k in 2010) The rate of drunk driving deaths has fallen even faster – from 38% of all motor vehicle deaths to 30%, and most of that came during the 1990’s, with the decreases in the past 10 years heavily correlating with the decrease in the overall motor vehicle death rate. (Though, it should always be noted, correlation does NOT equal causation). In terms of per 100,000 population, that puts drunk driving deaths at 3.3 per 100k in 2010. 4.6 per 100k in 1999. And 6.28 in 1991. Admittedly, I think it was in the early 90’s that the BAC rate for drunk driving was reduced from 0.10 to 0.08, so that did have a great effect. But, would cutting the rate really have a significant effect at this point? There are, of course, lots of things that people do now that impair our driving ability (use of smart phones while driving, eating while driving, looking at GPS devices while driving, video billboards, etc). However, vehicles are also safer than ever, which is clear based on the above noted statistics. While I certainly know that if I lost a loved one to a drunk driver, all the stats in the world wouldn’t make me feel any better. However, there’s always a danger, and I think more effort applied to reigning in impaired driving in general would be more effective than just lowering the rate for drunk driving, which is a much smaller problem than ever before. And, I say all this as someone who absolutely does NOT ever drive when I’ve had more than a single beer in the past hour. However, I also know that’s easier for me to do than many. I live in the city and can easily walk, take the CTA, or catch a cab. But, I also realize, from growing up downstate and having lived in the ‘burbs for a few years after college that options are much more limited in most places in the state (the only place where such options exist that I know of would be some college campuses).

    Also, let’s look at drunk driving and motor vehicle deaths compared to the big issue of the day.

    Total gun deaths in 2010 (including homicide, accidental discharge, suicide): 31,672 In 1999: 28,874 (about 69 gun deaths per 100 motor vehicle deaths) (1991 isn’t available from the site that I found, but it would be nice to fully compare apples to apples here) (

    Of those gun deaths, in 2010, about 11,000 were homicides. In 1999 about 10,800 were homicides.

    In 2010, this equates to about 96 gun deaths for every 100 motor vehicle deaths, and about 3 gun deaths for every drunk driving death. In 1999, this equates to 69 gun deaths for every 100 motor vehicle deaths and 2.3 gun deaths for every drunk driving death. Per 100,000 people, there were 10.3 gun deaths in 2010, and 10.35 in 1999. So, the gun death rate has remained steady over the past 10+ years. Violent crime rates have been going down over the past 10 years (nationally) but overall gun-related deaths have remained steady. By the way, the same website shows that the total homicide rate (by any means) has fallen from 6.05 in 1999 to 5.1 in 2010.

    So, while vehicular deaths are falling, drunk driving deaths are falling, and even gun-related homicide rates are falling (and are holding pretty steady in terms of total gun related homicides), total gun death rates are holding steady. So, that means that lots of people are dying unintentionally or in suicides with guns. Another thing worth noting is that total suicides (by gun or not) are on the rise from 10.46 per 100k in 1999 to 12.4 in 2010. That’s a quiet crisis that we really need to address.

    One final thing in this much longer than I planned write up – there are 101 guns in private hands for every 100 people in the United States. We’re #1 in the world in terms of the rate of private gun ownership.

  43. - x ace - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:28 pm:

    The system is already flawed. It makes ordinary citizens criminals . And the problem drunks keep driving.

    Better way would to go after the Drunk Drivers who are already revoked. Make Driving while Revoked the focus offense.
    Make any indicia of alcohol ( odor , empty can, ….) a super aggravating factor for sentencing. Send these Problem Offenders away for bigtime sentences.
    But suspect all the Grant Money being scarfed up creates tunnel vision and blind allegiance to a flawed system.

  44. - highspeed - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    Most DUI`s the level is way above .08 so what`s the point in making it any lower.So is the goal to make alcohol illegal? my guess is yes

  45. - the Patriot - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    I agree it is work a look, but you have to get real. The law only works to keep people safe if there is punishment. This is why the conceal and carry ban is a failure. We can’t afford to put non violent offenders in jail anyway so they just pay a fine.

    If we stiffen penalties and put people out picking up trash on the highway when it is 100 degrees in July with DUI blazers on like they do in the South, it might work. But if you can’t find a way to deter people with punishment. Don’t waste the time and money.

  46. - Chris - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    “Even small amounts of alcohol can cloud judgment and coordination. ”

    Mobile phone usage is more of an impediment. How ’bout we completely ban it, and step up enforcement?

    What about all sorts of prescription drugs? Shouldn’t we just take away the license of anyone with an Ambien prescription?

    etc, etc, parade of silly horribles.

    Let’s start arresting people for driving while tired–that clouds judgment and coordination, too!!

  47. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:51 pm: has a good calculator of blood-alcohol content. It lets you enter weight, hours, % alcohol of your avg drink, and even your tolerance; subjective, but good to have this as a variable, as I know my body doesn’t tolerate alcohol as well as my heavier drinking friends do. Playing around with it, I’m finding that somebody of average size would be somewhere between the current .08 limit and proposed 0.05 limit after 3 drinks in two hours.

    Because breathalyzer tests aren’t perfect, and metabolism varies, so I voted no.

    A better approach might be to aggressively fine or prosecute bars that over-serve, especially those who do most of their business from people driving to them, rather than taking public transportation.

  48. - Huh? - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    I voted yes.

    Driving is difficult enough without being impaired or distracted.

    I drink at home. I used to work for IDOT and was scared off drinking at a bar because a valid driver’s license was a condition of employment. I didn’t want to lose my job because I got liquored up and got a DUI.

  49. - TwoFeetThick - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    Numerous studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving impairs the driver’s operation of the vehicle at about the same level as someone driving with a .08 BAC. When all cell phone use while driving is banned (emergencies excepted), I might consider supporting .05, but probably not even then. If we’re going to go that low, we might as well just have zero tolerance. But I would never consider supporting that unless we’re also going to have zero tolerance, and the same penalties as DUI, for all activities that similarly impair driving ability.

    Now, if you don’t mind, could you hold the wheel while I top off my drink and make a phone call?

  50. - Griz - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:09 pm:

    How about we stop selling alcohol at every gas station and convenience mart in Illinois and see if the separation of the gas purchase and alcohol sale makes a difference. The way it used to be.

  51. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:15 pm:

    “The mechanisms by which alcohol affects individual skills related to safe driving have been studied using well-controlled laboratory experimentation. These laboratory experiments have
    examined a wide range of BACs from low to relatively high and have found that numerous
    driving-related skills are degraded beginning at low BACs…The relative risk of crash involvement was significantly elevated beginning at 0.04 BAC.”
    Source: “Crash Risk of Alcohol Impaired Driving” by R. P. Compton, R. D. Blomberg, H. Moskowitz,
    M. Burns, R. C. Peck, and D. Fiorentino

  52. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:21 pm:

    Question for opponents of the proposal: Did you also oppose lowering the limit from 0.10% to 0.08%? If so, did the horrible things predicted by opponents of 0.08% come true?

  53. - Zygmuntovich - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    If you spend time in a DUI courtroom, you will find that the majority of cases in which defendants are found not guilty of DUI at a trial are cases where the defendant has not submitted to chemical testing and refuses to complete field sobriety tests at the scene, depriving the prosecution of independent evidence that the motorist was DUI. On the other hand refusing to submit to chemical testing will usually result in a license suspension - independent of the DUI charge - of six months or more, unless a device is installed in a defendant’s vehicle which requires the defendant to blow before the ignaition will work. So the penalty for refusing to blow is prety harsh right now.

    Most DUI arrests are videotaped. I would venture to guess that the average juror, after viewing the video of a defendant who drives with a .05-.07 BAC, would not believe that person is impaired. After having 2-3 drinks, is the person’s speech slurred, are their eyes bloodshot, are they stumbling, do they look disheveled?

    How about suspending the licenses of the texters? There’s a lot more DWT than DUI

  54. - Fred's Mustache - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:34 pm:

    === Question for opponents of the proposal: Did you also oppose lowering the limit from 0.10% to 0.08%?===

    Didn’t even think about it then because I was still in high school.

  55. - Chris - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:37 pm:

    “we’re also going to have zero tolerance, and the same penalties as DUI, for all activities that similarly impair driving ability.”

    So, no lighting cigarettes, no eating, no soda, no programming GPS. Have to pass a test to have the radio on, or have a passenger in the car. No small children, no pets not in cages.

    And we’ll from time to time set up checkpoints for these things.

  56. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    Here’s another online BAC calculator site:

    It tells us that a 175-pound man who quaffs three beers over two hours would have a BAC of 0.036%, well under the proposed new limit.

    A 200-pound man would have a BAC of 0.027%. At 220 pounds, the BAC would be 0.021%.

    A 150-pound woman who consumes two beers in two hours would have a BAC of 0.027%.

  57. - Lil Enchilada - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    Plus, I love dogs, but PLEASE ban holding dogs while driving. They are the worst on the road!

  58. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 3:37 pm:

    In Illinois, BAC levels of .051% to .079% are not presumed to be under the influence, but are admissible as evidence in court as one aspect of proving impairment. Over .08%, impairment does not have to be proved and the test result becomes the de facto evidence of impairment. So, we already have the .05% law, in one form. Betcha 99 of 100 here didn’t know that.

  59. - Wumpus - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 3:38 pm:

    Take it back up to .10, but increase the penalty for those who are over.

  60. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    And I voted no. The .08 penalty, which is justified in my opinion, is too harsh for the average person driving at .05.

  61. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 3:42 pm:

    I voted no for now but could support with additional information, studies and evidence of accidents of people who are between .05 - .08. We should always be looking for ways to increase safety and this is a first step to looking into the issue. I do think there would need to be less penalties for people driving .05 - .08, maybe a traffic violation/small fine?

    In short, there just isn’t enough information to make this kind of decision yet (or I just haven’t seen it).

  62. - BMAN - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 3:43 pm:

    Driving is a privilege and for those 21 and older so is drinking alcohol. Don’t confuse privileges for rights.

  63. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 3:59 pm:

    BMAN, I have an IL drivers license but not an IL drinking license. Am I in violation of the law?

  64. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 4:29 pm:

    The Libertarian in me: No! Yet if the NTSAFETYB says it IS safer, (let alone common sense dictating the same) they must have all kinds of proof beHIND such a bold proposal to JUStify it… but it sure would be more intrusive into a whole lot of folks’ lives (ala growing “Police State,” no doubt, despite leading to fewer fatalities on the road, so you can see why the idea’d bother occasional drinkers who engage responsibly once in awhile! At any rate, bring on the debate though–one of the more interesting proposals to pop-up of late–and with NATional implications, too, to be sure, as many States, especially the more liberal ones in the Northeast (and perhaps California) will likely follow suit with the suggested change!!!

  65. - Melissa - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 4:30 pm:

    What are the statistics for accidents where the blood alcohol rate was between .05 and .08? I’d need to see the data before I’d support a reduction.

  66. - robert lincoln - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 4:35 pm:

    All you lock them up folks want to build a few extra prisons? Judges don’t sentence DWR to prison because their is no room. Do you all also want to send all the drug offenders to prison? How about the drug offenders with drugs in cars?
    The percentage of fatal DUI accidents with between .05 to .07 is minimal to non existent.
    Legislation should be based on studies and science, not whimsy.

  67. - robert lincoln - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 4:41 pm:

    Chris said, “Let’s start arresting people for driving while tired–that clouds judgment and coordination, too!!”
    Montgomerey County State’s Attorney just did:

  68. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 5:35 pm:

    It’s a straw man to accuse proponents of a lower legal limit of wanting to imprison DUI offenders. I don’t think even MADD advocates prison for DUI offenders, at least not until their umpteenth conviction. This discussion hasn’t been about the penalties, just the appropriate place to put the limit.

    At one time the legal limit was 0.15%. Then it dropped to 0.10%, and finally to 0.08%. Each time opponents raised this kind of flimsy argument.

  69. - Guzzlepot - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 6:47 pm:

    Reformer @5:35p.

    As the legal limit has gotten lower, the penalties have gotten harsher. Your average first DUI disposition in Illinois will cost you between $1500 - $3000 (if you qualify for a public defender and don’t have to retain private counsel). If you get a private attorney you can easily double that. The disposition will also require classes and possibly community service.

    I just don’t see the legislature having less severe penalties for lower BAC’s if we lowered the limit to .05.

    My problem isn’t so much with lowering the limit, it is that if you lower the limit and leave the punishment the same, then the punishment will be disproportionate to the crime for first-time offenders who blow between .05 and .079.

  70. - foster brooks - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 9:17 pm:

    glad i have a bar in the basement, this will kill the bar industry.

  71. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 9:52 pm:


    I agree that penalties should be lower for lower BAC levels, since the risks are lower.

  72. - Robert0117 - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 10:50 pm:

    Unfortunately these “recommendations” wind up as part of the next Federal highway appropriation language. States are told to either adopt the “recommendation” or part of their highway funds must be used for safety education. Immediately the contractors and unions scream to their legislators about diversion of “their” money and we have a new standard.

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