Lowering the Limit: Bill Would Change DUI Limit to .05

By Steph Machado

Published 01/29 2014 06:41PM

Updated 01/29 2014 07:19PM

MONTPELIER - Like many people, Cody Carter though he could have a few drinks and safely get behind the wheel. That's until he got stopped by an officer, and was given a breath test.
"Much higher than I expected," he said, referring to his Blood Alcohol Content. "Much higher."

State Representative Bill Lippert (D-Hinesburg) says that perception is common.

"You are impaired before the legal impairment limit of .08," Rep. Lippert said. He has introduced a bill in the State Legislature that would lower the legal limit to be arrested for DUI in Vermont to .05.

"Hard to believe, but the standard used to be .10," Lippert said. "And no one would ever think we should have a .10 standard any longer. I think the day will come when we look back and go, 'how did we ever live with .08 when it really should've been .05."

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended last year that all states lower their limits to .05 because that's they say impairment exists. So far, no states have taken heed.

"I have no illusions that this bill will become law quickly, or that it will become law this year," Lippert said. "But I think it's the beginning of a conversation."

A conversation his introduction of the bill has already sparked.

"Without a multi-pronged approach, I don't think that single thing will make a difference," said one person.
"Not a very good idea," said another. "People like to enjoy a beer after work, that could jeopardize that because they wouldn't want to drive home."

But Cody Carter thinks it's a great idea.

"If it's going to save even one life, then I fully support it," he said.

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