No one wants to see those flashing red and blue lights in the rear-view mirror, especially after a night out. This situation could soon become even more stressful if California lawmakers pass a new bill that would lower the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels.
A new bill proposes lower BAC
The new bill on the table aims to lower California's current BAC level of 0.08% down to 0.05%. Most states have a level of 0.08%, except for Utah. Utah was the first state to decrease the legal limit at the beginning of this year.
The bill is not law yet. It still has quite a way to go. However, if the law passes, the number of California drivers who could face drunk driving charges could increase significantly.
It is essential to take a look at BAC to understand how the rate of DUI charges could increase.
A person's BAC depends on many factors, including:
- Their weight and often their gender
- The ratio of food to alcohol in their system
- The amount of alcohol in their system
- The number of drinks they consumed
Taking these factors into consideration, most people reach a BAC of 0.05% if they have two drinks in one hour.
Lowering BAC raises the chances of a DUI
According to Stanford University, a BAC of 0.05% usually has symptoms including:
- Feeling relaxed and warm
- Slight cognitive impairments
Essentially, this BAC level is what most people considered "buzzed."
A lower BAC would increase the risks that all California drivers face. Since someone's BAC depends on so many variables, a specific limit cannot accurately define how alcohol impacts different individuals.
By Stanford's study, it is likely that many people have driven with a BAC of 0.05% in the past since it was below the legal limit, especially if an average of two drinks results in a 0.05% BAC. If the new bill becomes law, then these people could face consequences of a DUI charge that they currently do not. And a BAC of 0.08% could have even more penalties than it does now.
It might become even more critical for people to prepare for a night out and have a designated driver so that they can avoid the risk of a DUI, regardless of how they feel after a few drinks.