Michiana Reacts to recommendation to lower legal limit - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Michiana Reacts to recommendation to lower legal limit

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A government agency is making a big recommendation to change the drunk driving laws by lowering the legal limit from .08 to .05.

The National Transportation Safety Board says alcohol-related crashes claim 10,000 lives a year and lowering the blood alcohol limit could save hundreds.

"I think it's a great idea. I had a brother in 1984 killed by a drunk driver. So the lower the limit, the better," says Lori Shreve of Lakeville.

The issue of drunk driving hits home for Lori Shreve. She hopes a lower limit can keep families from experiencing her pain.

"It's heartwrenching, knowing another family could be going through what we went through," says Shreve.

Others agree, saying the change could help protect their loved ones.

"I think it's a great idea. I'm not one to drink and drive, but I'm got small children, so the safer the roads, the better," says Karen Legge of South Bend.

Lieutenant Tim Williams with the Mishawaka Police Department says when the law changed from .10 to .08, there was a drastic drop in drunk-driving crashes.

Williams believes lowering the limit to .05 will do the same.

"We make a lot of arrests for drunk driving in St. Joe County, so the higher the arrest, the lower number of alcohol-related crashes we have," says Williams.

But some say a drop to .05 is a little excessive.

"If it's only one glass of alcohol or wine, it's really too strict," says Grace Koyo of South Bend.

"I think .08 is low enough. I guess at that point, you just couldn't drink and drive at all. Which maybe is good too," says Eli Elder of South Bend.

Williams says, that's the idea.

"Our recommendation is if you're going to drink, don't drive. Because that first drink of alcohol is going to affect your brain," says Williams.

However you feel about the recommendation, can it actually become reality? .08 is a decade-old benchmark that all 50 states adopted in 2004.

"It was a very tough fight to get it from .10 to .08. I think this will be a tougher fight. But someday, will it happen? I hope so," says Williams.

Williams adds, officers aren't saying 'Don't go out and have fun and patronize our local businesses.' Just make sure you have a designated driver if you're going to drink.

Williams says right now people can actually be arrested at .05 if officers can prove impairment, it's called "driving while impaired."

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