Restaurant Group Fights Lower Drunk Driving Limit

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- Lots of us like a beer with a Memorial Day barbecue. But a new proposal from DC's Democratic nominee for mayor could very quickly put you over the legal limit to drive home.

A well-funded restaurant group is now fighting Muriel Bowser's plan to cut the legal limit to drink and drive from .08 to .05.

No other jurisdiction in the US has cut the legal limit that low.

"It's fine to be a leader," says Bowser. "We should lead when it comes to safety."

Here's how much alcohol we're talking about. Three beers on an empty stomach for a 170 pound man on an empty stomach. For a 137 pound woman, it could be as little as two glasses of wine.

"Both Muriel Bowser and the NTSB are out their on their own on this," says Sarah Longwell, the managing director of the American Beverage Institute, and an employee of the Berman Group, a high powered Washington public affairs company that prides itself on changing the debate on controversial issues.

"As long as our policies fail to target those hard corps drunk drivers who are out there killing people, we will not put a dent in drunk driving fatalities," says Longwell.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended cutting the legal limit to point 05 a year ago, but the plan has yet to gain much political traction. "We know that impairment begins with the first drink, but at point 05, people are significantly impaired," then NTSB chair Deborah Hersman said.

But even Mothers Against Drunk Driving's declined to get behind .05, worrying it would be tough to enforce. MADD favors ignition interlocks for even first time offenders instead...

Bowser says she's willing to consider alternatives. "We want people to come have fun and get home safely."

But some restaurant owners fear .05 would scare off customers, leaving them worried about getting home after a single glass of wine with dinner.

Bowser's plan would create special penalties for drivers between .05 and .08: A three day license suspension for the first offense, seven days for the second, and 30 days for a third offense.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment