Utah has the strictest drunken driving limit in the nation. Should Hawaii follow suit?

Utah has the strictest drunken driving limit in the nation. Some want Hawaii to join them.

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Amid a rise in alcohol-related crashes, state senators are advocating for a bill that aims to lower the blood alcohol limit for impaired driving from 0.08 to 0.05.

Utah is the only state to have a threshold that low, and advocates said it is already seeing benefits.

“They have seen a decrease in fatalities,” said Carol McNamee, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hawaii. “So they’re already seeing the benefits of lower blood alcohol level.”

MADD hopes similar action is taken here with Senate Bill 754.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said State Sen. Chris Lee, who chairs the Senate Committee on Transportation.

“It’s something that we can all do a little more responsibly, to think twice before we get behind the wheel and end up killing someone.”

Lee said besides Utah, a number of countries have set the level at 0.05 and are seeing results.

But some say it’s not that simple.

“It invites a lot more litigation,” said William Bento, with the Office of the Public Defender.

“Because when the net will be bigger and more people will be arrested, more people will contest these types of charges. It adds a tremendous cost to the entire system.”

MADD said hopefully fewer people will make bad decisions in the first place, and the lives saved are worth more than the cost to the system.

The next hearing for the bill is scheduled for Thursday.

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