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9:00 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Kentucky State Police Watching Movement to Change Drunk Driving Limit

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Kentucky State Police again promise to have patrols on highways for Memorial Day weekend. And, as always, they’ll be watchful for drunk drivers.

Meanwhile, there’s a move afoot to  tighten restrictions on drivers who also drink.

The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending another drop in blood alcohol limits. It’s asking states to further restrict the legal limit from .08 to .05. Officials with the Kentucky State Police haven’t yet taken a stand on the proposal, but spokesman Rick Saint-Blancard says the agency "enforces the laws as they are written."

And if studies confirm fewer fatalities will result, Sgt. Saint-Blancard predicts state police would get behind such a move. 

“I do believe that if people know there is a lower tolerance, that it would, to some degree, impact their behavior knowing that, you know what if I have two drinks, three drinks, that is the legal limit,” Saint-Blancard said.

But he says a blood alcohol level is not the sole factor in determining a driver’s competency.Other drugs in a driver’s system along with some alcohol can cause serious impairment, he says.

“And keep in mind, that is only alcohol impairment," he said. "There are times where a person may have other drugs in their system and while the actual reading on the preliminary test would indicate less than point .08, they may still be arrested for DUI if they are impaired."

And, it seems that danger increases if, instead of drinking, the driver picks up a cell phone. Another report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims the risk is multiplied by a factor of six when a driver starts texting. While detecting a drunk driver is a challenge, Saint-Blancard says there are often tell tale signs when a driver’s simply distracted by a text.

“A lot of times teens will do it, thinking it’s just a quick response, it’s something that’s not gonna take too much time and invariably those are the times where we see the impact on their driving because it just takes a few seconds to get off that right or left shoulder of the road and, again, causes that over correction,” said Saint-Blancard.

Besides tougher laws and tighter enforcement, Saint-Blancard says education also works to reduce unsafe driving habits.

(Image via Shutterstock)