CA lawmakers targeting drunk drivers, looking to lower legal BAC

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Happy hour cocktails and wine with dinner may become a thing of the past. 

California lawmakers are looking to lower the legal blood alcohol limit from .08 to .05.

They said the legislation, introduced this week, would save lives.

Awarded DUI enforcer Officer Mark Bradford from the Clovis Police Department said he sees the reasoning behind the legislation.

“People are not learning from the .08. They’re still offending,” he said Friday.

Those who oppose the legislation say it would criminalize responsible drinking. 

“Are we as a state going to say you can no longer drive with any alcohol in your system, and basically that’s what they’re saying with this,” Charles Magill said. 

Magill has been practicing law in Fresno the past three decades. He said this legislation is not about safety

“I think this is a money grab from the state. I think the state is attempting to take more money from us without raising taxes,” he said. “The first offense DUI is almost $1,750 that you pay the state in fines. It’s $500 for a DUI class. It’s $100 dollars to the DMV to get your diverse license back. So we’re talking about almost $2,500 in fines that goes directly to the state.”

Supporters said more than 1,000 people die and 20,000 are injured a year by drunk drivers. 

Bradford supports a bill that would turn things around. “You see on a daily basis DUI offenders killing people and stuff like that and it needs to stop. Innocent people are dying,” he said. 

Magill said if passed, the bill could destroy the bar and restaurant industry. “Realistically what this says is you can no longer serve alcohol in your restaurants,” he said. 

“If it passes people are just going to have to not drink and drive. Or Uber or Lyft,” Bradford said. 

Supporters of the bill said many countries already have similar laws and this is the level the National Transportation Safety Board recommends to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. 

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