Bloomsburg, Columbia County (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations start as early as this coming weekend in Pittston.
With that comes a lot of alcohol consumption. A new study suggests lowering the blood alcohol concentration or BAC to 0.05.
Driving under the influence and DUI fatalities are on the rise in the country. The study could convince lawmakers to change the BAC.
An alcohol beverage can be great for casual conversations at a bar. For some it’s those times that get them behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater.
“Someone’s first offense with DUI is really probably not the first time they’ve actually driven impaired. It’s the first time they’ve been caught,” said Sgt. Leonard Rogutski of the Bloomsburg Police Department.
A study by the National Academies of Science, engineering and Medicine’ auggest lowering the BAC from 0.08 to 0.05. Their motive, curb the rising numbers of fatalities caused by drunk driving. The study says that happens to be 10,000 a year. It’s also the leading cause of death on the highway.
“I think that is something the legislatures looks at. If they’re saying DUI’s serious enough, and I believe it is because of all those things they may need to look at enhance penalties beyond misdemeanors,” said Sgt. Rogutski.
To put it into perspective your third time shop lifting of any amount is a felony. Your third DUI still a misdemeanor. Rogutski does not believe lowering the BAC would make an impact.
“When they lowered it from 0.10 to 0.08 our average is 0.06 here in Columbia County,” said Rogutski.
“It’s going to make them second guess are they even going to have any alcohol at all,” said Marlene Butters, Owner Filet 18.
Butters says the BAC boils down to body size, what you’ve had to eat. By looking into lowering the federal standard would hurt not only bars.
“It seems crazy to me that you’re going to hurt that social person who just maybe wants to come out and have a beer with their meal,” said Butters.
Last August Act 33 was enacted where an ignition interlock has to be installed for first time convicted offenders of a BAC of 0.10.
The study also looked at how marketing the laws for drinking under the influence would help stop those driving drunk.