Advocates gathered in Albany Tuesday to rally for change. What these people are pushing for, according to WNYT, is for the state to lower its legal drunk driving limit. The current BAC limit for New York state is 0.08%. Some feel it should be lower.

number of lawmakers have pushed in recent years to lower the state's legal limit, including State Senator John Lui, who said he would make it a top priority to lower the limit to 0.05%.

Another proponent of lower BAC laws includes Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. 

According to statistics posted at CBS, New York saw 335 alcohol-related deaths in 2022, which was a 30% percent increase over the last five years.

Currently, Utah is the only state in the country that has a limit of .05%, which went into effect at the end of 2018.

Would a Lower BAC Limit in New York State Reduce Fatalities? 

Back in October 2023, a Wynantskill, NY man blew a a 0.38% BAC, which is 4.7 times over the state's legal limit, according to New York State Police. Some, such as Scott Wexler, of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association say the fatal drunk driving crashes are caused by those with much higher BACs, such as this one.

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Wexler told WNYT he doesn't feel like a drop to 0.05% would make much of a difference in reducing fatalities.


Others, like Thomas Louizou, a former federal traffic safety official and founder of the .05 Saves Lives Coalition, disagree. Louizou stated that 114 other countries had lower legal limits than the United States. WNYT says that other organizations like the National Transportation Safety Board and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have backed previous attempts to lower the limit.

Numbers from the NTSB posted at Stateline say that in the first year, Utah lowered the drunk driving limit, and traffic deaths were cut by 20%.

We Found the 13 Drunkest Counties in New York

These findings were the result of data pulled from County Health Rankings for 2021.

Gallery Credit: Will Phillips

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