.05 BAC Senate Bill 160 update

Rep. David Tarnas, the Chair of the House Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, stated Sunday he would not hear the .05 BAC bill, SB160.  Essentially this means the .05 bill is dead this year, unless Tarnas has a change of heart by Friday, 3/31, the last day to schedule a hearing this session. 

In the interim, before the next legislative session, Rep. Tarnas plans to examine other countries’ data.  Four years ago Utah adopted a .05 BAC and is the only state to date to do so, even though most industrialized nations around the world and approximately 85% of the world’s populations have set BAC limits at .05 BAC or lower.   All states in Australia have a .05 BAC limit.  France, Austria, Italy, Spain and Germany lowered their limit to .05 BAC, while Sweden, Norway, Japan, and Russia have set their limit at .02 BAC.  (WHO, 2013)  The ABInBEv Foundation (formerly Anheuser-Busch) agrees with the World Health Organization (WHO) that a .05 BAC limit is best practice at this time.

Rick Collins, Policy Director for the Hawaii Alcohol Policy Alliance, thinks the .05 BAC limit would serve as a deterrent, changing people’s behavior, and preempting bad decisions.  “You get more of a cumulative effect,” he said, arguing that the average driver’s BAC would go down.

MADD fully supports lowering the BAC to .05. 

Rep Tarnas can be reached at 808-586-8510 or [email protected].

To learn more about this issue read this Civil Beat article  Push To Lower the Legal Alcohol Limit For Hawaii Drivers Runs Out of Gas