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Opinions vary on legislation to lower BAC to .05 in New York State

Opinions vary on a move to lower the legal BAC limit from 0.08% to 0.05% in New York State.

Lawmakers who support the measure are hopeful that it will be able to be taken up. Others, are hoping it stays buried – like the legislation has in recent years.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people are killed every year in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers.



“That seems like a restaurant killer,” John Lynch of Geneva told 13WHAM-TV. “That means, if you go out to dinner you can really only have one drink. Maybe two, if you hang around long enough.”

Lynch, like other opponents of the legislation, say that responsible drinkers are not the ones who are involved in Fata crashes. Those with significantly higher BACs are, which is a separate issue entirely.

Lt. David Cirencione with the Ontario County Sheriff‘s Office says changes to field sobriety tests would be necessary. “Some of the first signs, like I said, bloodshot watery eyes. The other thing is, people’s balance will be off a little bit,” he explained to 13WHAM.

The old rule that one drink per hour would keep most under the legal limit would also likely change. “To stay beyond that and to continue to drink at that rate or faster could put somebody in legal trouble if they decide to drive,” he said.



Michelle Folan, a manager at Shamrock Jack’s Irish Pub in Irondequoit says the changes wouldn’t have a big impact on business. “Yes, there’s going to be people a little more leery about going out and staying out – maybe not having two drinks,” she explained. “However, with Uber and Lyft becoming readily available, it has been very easy for anybody to grab a ride and get a ride home from them or maybe a family member or a friend.”

That’s around Rochester, though.

Bars and restaurants in rural communities around the region would likely face a different scenario. Uber and Lyft are not as readily available in these communities.

“You can catch a ride from time-to-time, but it’s not something you can rely on – like you can in cities,” John Allen, a student at New York Chiropractic College, who’s spent time in Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton.


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