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Connecticut lawmakers consider lowering blood alcohol limit to prevent drunk driving

Police officers check drivers at a sobriety checkpoint.
Lenny Ignelzi
Police officers check drivers at a sobriety checkpoint.

Lawmakers in Connecticut are hoping to lower drunk driving incidents with a new bill.

Proposed House Bill 1082 would lower the blood alcohol content threshold for a DUI from .08 to .05.

Connecticut Department of Transportation commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said the state has seen too many drunk driving incidents, and lawmakers need to intervene now.

“Connecticut has a drunk driving problem,” Eucalitto said. “We're one of the worst offending states in the nation. In 2020, we were ranked third for the percent of crash fatalities caused by drunk driving.”

Senator Tony Hwang of Fairfield said the bill would not limit people's ability to drink, but it would encourage them to find safe transportation.

“If you drink and you're impaired, you should not get behind the wheel, you can get a car service, you can have friends take you home,” Hwang said. “But ultimately what this lowering is saying, at .05, people are impaired.”

Drivers with a BAC over .05 are seven times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers who are sober.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.