Town Hall

Town Hall

Douglas County Democrats

Douglas County Democrats

Monday, January 22, 2018

Opinion: Lower the DUI Limit

Kevin Surbaugh


In 1993 Kansas became the sixth state to lower the blood alcohol content (BAC) from .10 to .08. That was ten years after Utah's and Oregon's had been ignited. Now the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) is recommending that states lower the limit again. This time to .05.  That is half of what it was prior to 1993 here in the state of Kansas.  In fact, the state of Utah already approved such a change in their legislature (and was signed by the Governor) last year. That law is set to go into effect on December 30, 2018.
In an article from Salt Lake City's Fox 13,
Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, asked rhetorically why Utah just didn't go to 0.0 as a BAC, noting that the drinking laws in Europe have people as young as 15 imbibing? Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, defended the bill saying it sends a message that Utah does not tolerate drinking and driving.
- Fox 13
The states Governor Gary Herbert signed the bill in March of 2017, making Utah the lowest BAC in the country.  However, will other states follow suit? Well if the NTSB gets its way they will.  However, the recent report is not the first time the Federal agency has made the recommendation. In my research, I have found similar reports calling for a .05 BAC as far back as 2013.  So I guess the big question is will Kansas take up this issue?  For that, I turned to Senators Tom Holland, Democrat from Baldwin City and Caryn Tyson, Republican from Parker, both of whom said they were not aware of any legislative effort this year. At least not yet.
As for my thoughts, I believe that drinking and driving is a horrible thing, so yes if we can make the laws even stronger then, by all means, we should. The stronger the teeth the better it would be. Perhaps even reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents. In fact, even though it was some Democrats idea of a joke in opposition to it, perhaps it should be 0.00.  I know that will probably never happen, but that would be strict and say, don't drink and drive ever. You should have full control of your faculties and not have any amount of alcohol in your system if you are going to be behind a two-ton piece of metal.
The fact that the state is not considering this issue seems to indicate a lack of concern for the safety of so many constituents. Although, there is the issue of the budget and school financing which is far more pressing than anything else the state could be taking up at this time.


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