Speaker 1: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Ann: A new bill proposed by the New York State Assembly would tighten restrictions with regard to drinking and driving by reducing acceptable blood alcohol levels. Here to examine this issue is managing partner Paul Harding from the law firm Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Good afternoon…
Paul: Hi Ann.
Ann: …and thank you for being here.
Paul: You’re welcome.
Ann: Okay Paul, what sort of reduction are we talking about in the blood alcohol content, and how would this law change the drinking and driving standard in New York State?
Paul: So right now it’s 0.08, if your blood alcohol content is 0.08 or greater then you will be convicted of a drunk driving offense. So what they’re suggesting is they’re going to bring it down, doesn’t sound like a lot, but down to 0.05. But in essence kind of doing the math on that if you have a drink, an hour, that used to be okay. Now you have a drink an hour, depending on the strength of the drink you could find yourself in trouble if the new law passes.
Ann: All right so you said that it’s currently at 0.08 and this law would reduce it to 0.05, so what happens right now if you blow into the thing…
Paul: The breathalyzer.
Ann: …and you get 0.05?
Paul: Under 0.08. You’re still illegal, so you have a thing called DWAI, driving while ability impaired, doesn’t have the alcohol component to it, so you can’t do it now but they just want to strengthen the law and make it so if you do do it, you’re going to have an alcohol-related charge.
Ann: Okay, so who could possibly be opposed to the tougher laws?
Paul: Well you know the restaurant and entertainment industry is going to turn around and say, “Listen guys you know you’re…worry about texting, worry about speeding, worry about… You know you’re just kind of killing our business here and we want responsible drivers, but we think 0.05 is too low of a standard.” That’s their argument, I think there’re gonna be very few people arguing with them.
Ann: Is there any precedent for this type of change?
Paul: Well the state of Utah which often drinking is illegal. Very tough place, in Utah you can’t drink it all. So they’re at 0.05 nobody else, we would be the second state to do it but maybe it’s time.
Ann: I think a lot of people will be watching this one.
Paul: It’s going to be a tight one, yeah.
Ann: Thank you so much, Paul.
Paul: You’re welcome.