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Washington Lawmakers Consider Bill To Change Drunk Driving Law

Jeanie Lindsay
Northwest News Network
Rep. John Lovick encourages the passage of HB 1874, which would decrease the legal blood alcohol content limit.

Washington lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers from .08 to .05. That would make the limit one of the lowest in the nation. The House Transportation Committee heard the bill Tuesday

Supporters of the bill claim the current legal blood-alcohol content limit is not enough to protect drivers. Rep. John Lovick, a Democrat and former state trooper, sponsored the bill. He said he is confident it will reduce the number of fatal accidents.

Sarah Longwell, from the American Beverage Institute, disagrees.

“If you pass a legal limit of .05, you have to be prepared to arrest people whose level of impairment is lower than that of driving talking on a hands-free cell phone,” she said.

Opponents also pointed out that notable activist groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving were not testifying in support of this bill.

It’s estimated that cities and counties would spend around $4.6 million every two years due to increased DUI-related workloads for law enforcement.

Similar legislation is being considered in Utah and Hawaii.