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Impact of Lower BAC Limit to .05% in Michigan OWI

Question: What impact would lowering the legal BAC to .05% have on drunk driving in Michigan?

Answer: The .05 has been proposed. Many countries either have a .05 as their standard level or some even less. What happens when you drop the level, you’re not actually really protecting people from people who are a .05 to a .08. Those aren’t exactly people who are drunk or really even impaired for the most part.

What you’re doing is you’re lowering the standard to the point that everybody who thinks they can have two, three, maybe get away with a fourth drink, maybe they don’t have that third or fourth drink and they try and keep themselves under the legal limit as much as possible. So it really does, every time you lower the drinking and driving number from .10 to .08, and even if it went down to .05, it would lower the amount of people drinking and driving.

Now, at the same time, you’re also going to catch a lot of people who aren’t intoxicated or really impaired. Much as though there is a speed limit, everybody can function differently. Now, there are going to be studies that say there is some level of effect, but at the same time, many people can drive over the speed limit five, 10, even sometimes 20 miles an hour and be just fine. The problem is that not everybody can do it, and so we have to draw a firm line in the sand and that’s where we come up with a standardized BAC number.