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Should the legal limit for DUI be lowered to 0.05 percent?

In Colorado, if a motorist's blood-alcohol concentration is above 0.08 percent, they are deemed too drunk to drive safely and could receive a DUI. The legal limit is in place to keep people safe on the road. However, some are now saying that even a BAC of 0.05 percent puts others' safety at risk.

One study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends lowering the legal limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. One researcher claims that doing so could save 1,500 lives each year. He stated that signs of impairment can begin when one's BAC is 0.05 percent. Some of these signs of impairment include a reduction in a motorist's ability to follow moving objects and steer, a reduction in a motorist's coordination and a reduction in a motorist's response time.

However, a BAC of 0.05 percent means that a motorist could be charged with DUI even if they have had only one or two drinks. Many would agree that if a person had enough drinks to raise their BAC to 0.08 percent, then they are too drunk to safely operate a motor vehicle. Not everyone would agree, however, that having a single drink with a meal could raise a person's BAC so high that they should not drive.

Whether or Colorado will lower its legal limit remains to be seen. However, if the legal limit is lowered to 0.05 percent, it could mean that many more motorists will be charged with DUI, adding an additional workload to an already overburdened court system. Moreover, it could unnecessarily and unfairly penalize those who are still capable of driving safely.

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