Two assembly people in the state of California have introduced a bill that could make California one of the strictest states in the country for drunk driving. Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, a Democrat from Marina Del-Rey, and Assemblyman Heath Flora, a Republican from Ripon, are fighting to reduce the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from .08 to .05 percent.
The Assembly Bill 1713, which is the new bill recommending the change, is in line with a recommendation by the 2013 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB recommendation states that over 100 countries have already adopted this lower BAC limit because BAC levels higher than .05 can create dangerous risks while driving.
Utah is currently the only state to have a legal BAC limit of .05, which makes it the strictest state yet. If California were to follow suit, residents in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento would have to become much more mindful of their drinking habits.
What Changing BAC Limits Means for Drivers
Changing the legal limit from .08 to .05 will have a significant effect on how individuals can consume alcohol before getting in a vehicle. While driving under the influence is never legal, the .08 limit allows drivers to get away with much more than a .05 limit would.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration BAC chart, if a man who weighs 160 pounds consumes two drinks in one hour, he’d have a BAC level of .05. Conversely, it would take him between three and four drinks within one hour to achieve a BAC level of .08.
Women have higher body fat percentages and, as a result, reach higher BAC levels in shorter periods of time. For a woman who weighs 160 pounds, she’d have a BAC level of .05 in one hour after consuming just over one drink. She’d have a BAC level of .08 after consuming just over two drinks.
Challenging a DUI Charge
Getting charged with a DUI doesn’t mean you’re automatically convicted of a crime. Everyone has the right to challenge his or her charge in court and hire legal representation. A Los Angeles, San Diego, or Sacramento DUI attorney can be the key to building a strong case in your defense and getting your charges either dropped or reduced.
Regardless of whether you’ve been charged with drunk driving, if California lowers the BAC legal limit, it’s going to be crucial for drivers all over the state to be more aware of their drinking behaviors before deciding to take to the road behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.