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California Could Join Utah As Only States To Lower Legal Blood Alcohol Level To .05

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California could soon have some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country if two bills being introduced in the state legislature this week pass.

SB 545 would require everyone convicted of a DUI – even first-time offenders – to have interlocking ignition devices installed in their vehicle. The device prevents the car from starting if the driver does not pass an alcohol breathalyzer test.

The second bill, AB 1713, would bring California's legal drinking limit down from a blood alcohol content of .08 to .05.

That amounts to one or two drinks per hour for women under 160 pounds, and no more than two drinks for men under 200 pounds.

"A thousand people are killed every year from drunk drivers and 20,000 are injured," State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) told KPIX. "We want to reduce those numbers and this will do it."

Sen. Hill, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board and others will be at the State Capitol on Wednesday to mark the introduction of SB 545 and AB 1713.

Utah is the only state that has reduced its drunk driving level to .05. A handful of other states have proposed doing the same thing this year.

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