Efforts To Lower BAC Limits In Delaware

In all 50 states and Washington, D.C., the legal drinking age is 21 years of age or older and all states have adopted a blood-alcohol limits of .08 when driving. To put that limit in perspective, one standard drink can raise the average person’s BAC roughly .02% to .05%. A standard drink is defined as 12oz of regular beer, 5oz of wine, and 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor such as vodka, rum or tequila either served as a shot alone or in a mixed drink.

Because alcohol affects people differently, one person may have a higher blood alcohol content than another even after the same number of drinks. Yet there are still efforts to lower the BAC required for DUI in some states.

WDEL reports on efforts to lower the legal BAC limit in Delaware.

In a legislative measure aimed at lowering the frequency of drunk driving accidents, House Bill 320 was introduced in Delaware’s legislature. Sponsored by Senator David Sokola, the legislation would lower the level for BAC arrests from .08% to .05%. Sokola remembers when similar legislation lowered BAC from 1.0% to .08%.

The American Beverage Institute (ABI) vehemently opposes the legislation. Executive Director Sarah Longwell says such legislation would hurt the hospitality industry. Customers would fear having that extra drink and some people would not even be able to have one drink based on their weight.

Nearly 60% of all alcohol-related traffic fatalities involve persons with a BAC of .15% and above. Only about 2% of alcohol-related traffic fatalities fall at blood-alcohol contents of .05% to .08%.

In a report released earlier this year, National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine suggested lowering acceptable BAC levels from .08% to .05% to curb rising numbers of drunk driving fatalities.


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