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Lawmaker Not Sure If Lowering Blood Alcohol Limit Is Right For Colorado

DENVER (CBS4) - There's a proposal for lowering the blood alcohol content limit in every state in the country. The National Transportation Safety Board says thousands of lives would be saved if states lower the blood alcohol limit from the current .08 to .05.

With the lower limit a woman weighing less than 120 pounds could reach .05 after just one drink. For a man weighing up to 160 pounds, it would take just two drinks.

Some say getting behind the wheel at .05 is still within a responsible behavior. But the NTSB says it could help reduce thousands of deaths and injuries each year.

"The more that we look at what preventative measures we can put in place to protect the public safety from those who get behind the wheel after drinking is an important conversation," said Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver.

The .05 limit is already in place in many countries around the world. Colorado already has a law dealing with a lower limit on drinking.

"We do have a .05 limit in place. It's not the per se limit as we have with DUI, but it is worth having a conversation to see if, you know, do we have the best public safety standards in place to stop drinking and driving?" Pabon said.

Advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving have supported lowering the limit, but restaurant groups call it ridiculous, saying some people can have above .05 after just one drink.

The last time states lowered the BAC limit, legislation took more than two decades.

"I don't know if it's the right fit for Colorado and I think that's an important conversation to have with all the stakeholders; with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, with the district attorneys, public prosecutors, to make sure we have Colorado-drafted policy," Pabon said.

The Colorado Restaurant Association said there's already a law in place for .05 and it doesn't favor lowering DUI levels. The Colorado District Attorneys Council said since that law already exists, they don't expect to see case loads go up whether the law changes or not.

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