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Too Tipsy to Drive Category of Impaired Driving Proposed

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Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is pushing for a new intoxicated driving category: Driving While Ability Impaired, or DWAI, would cover drivers found to have a blood alcohol level between .05 and .08, and would have less severe consequences than a DUI, which is for blood alcohol levels over .08. The Statesman quoted Acevedo as saying, "A person may be intoxicated at 0.05, and you don't want them out driving."

Well, The American Beverage Institute is having none of it. The ABI, a restaurant trade association that aims to protect "responsible on-premise consumption of adult beverages," has come out against the proposal. A spokesperson said that creating this new category ignores the serious drunk driving problem of "hard core alcohol abusers," and added "It's ridiculous to lower the current BAC limit when numerous studies show that drivers at the 0.08 level are less impaired than drivers talking on a hands-free cell phone.”

For some perspective, a 130 pound woman would be in this range after drinking three beers over two hours, and a 170 pound man would need to drink four beers over the same time period.

· Austin Chief Pushes for New Drunk Driving Charge [Statesman]
· ABI Goes to Bat for Social Drinkers [NBCDFW]
· American Beverage Institute [Official Site]

[Photo: Luc Byhet / Flickr]

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