The Coalition for Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi Island had the pleasure of working alongside Jill Tamashiro from…
A proposed bill to lower the per se blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level for alcohol-impaired driving from 0.08 to 0.05 sped through the Senate with overwhelming support, and its fate now rests in the House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs. SB 160 lowers the BAC to 0.05 and has evidence to support that this practice will save many lives, as it acts as a deterrent for drivers at all BAC levels, keeping our roads safe.
Thanks to the support of the Department of Transportation, county Prosecuting Attorney offices, police departments, the National Transportation Safety Board, and many other community members, the bill successfully passed out of the Senate Committee on Judiciary unamended. The National Transportation Safety Board and other supporters say that lowering the BAC to 0.05 is about separating drinking from driving, to have a plan if you want to drink heavily on a night out.
Concerned lawmakers think they might be over the 0.05 BAC threshold with just one drink over dinner, but science says otherwise. There are many considerations when calculating BAC for individuals: sex, height, weight, metabolism, fasting duration, and consumption duration. A 0.05 BAC is not typically reached with a couple of beers after work, a glass of wine, or two with dinner.
In a recent press conference with Mothers Against Drunk Driving – Hawai‘i Chapter, Rick Collins closed his remarks with this message “Hawai‘i has the sixth highest alcohol-impaired traffic fatality rate in the nation. We can do without that distinction. And we can save hundreds of lives in the process.“
Learn more about the movement to lower the BAC and make our roads safer on the Hawai‘i Alcohol Policy Alliance website: hiapa.org.