New York to lower the legal BAC limit from .08 to .05?

February 1, 2019

Not yet! But there’s a push to make it happen in the NY State Assembly.

The current legal limit in NYS of .08 is the legal threshold and the generally accepted level at which alcohol in the blood will begin to affect most people’s ability to operate a car as reasonably safe and prudent driver (everyone tolerates alcohol differently and for a number of different reasons). So can the state really just change it to a lower number?

Yes they can! In fact, they’ve before. The legal limit in NYS was reduced from a .1 to the current .08 as recently as 2003. And the Zero Tolerance Law (which makes it a civil offense for anyone under 21 to drive with a BAC of .02) was enacted in 1996 – although the intention there was really to curb underage drinking.

But is .05 really a viable threshold? According to the article below, it takes on average only 1 to 2 drinks for most women to get to a .05 and 2 to 3 drinks for most men.

The article also states that, at least in NY, “nearly 70 percent of alcohol-impaired traffic deaths involve a driver with a BAC of 0.15 or above, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Only 2 percent of traffic deaths involve someone with a blood alcohol level between .05 and .08.”

So what you do think about a lower BAC limit? Would it simply ensnare countless “responsible or casual drinkers”? Or would it be an effective step toward reducing DWI offenses?

You can read the article here: