Washington Mulls Bill Tightening Drunk Driving Legal Limit
(Olympia, WA) -- Lawmakers are considering a bill tightening the threshold for what constitutes drunk in Washington State. The bill, if passed, would lower the legal blood-alcohol level for DUI offenses here to a standard that, so far, only one state has actually adopted. Former state trooper and Democratic Senator John Lovick is introducing the measure. It would lower the legal blood-alcohol concentration for DUI offenses from point-08 to point-05. If passed, Washington would become the second state in the country to lower its BAC. Utah is currently the only state nationwide that enforces a limit of point-05.
Both Sides Make Their Case
In a hearing Monday in front of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, speakers both for and against the bill talked about what it might mean. Representatives from Washington State's wine industry warned against the bill, cautioning it would make wine makers who have tasting rooms here and cater to tourists "noncompetitive." Whereas the Washington Hospitality Association, which was representing bars and restaurants said the measure would increase liability for for service and bar workers. This is because, the association says, current training and standards is only set to teach those who serve alcohol up to .08 But the Washington State chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) said the bill will save lives.
The bill's next hearing is set for Thursday, January 19th at 8:00 in the Senate Law and Justice Committee. It's scheduled for executive session which means it's not expected to be open to the public.
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