Proposal could change definition of drunk driving

The National Transportation Safety Board recommends lowering the DWI blood alcohol count from .08 to .05.

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended lowering the DWI blood alcohol count level from .08 to .05.

In Onondaga County, Philip Rose works for Prevention Network, an organization working to prevent substance abuse. He sees the proposal as a step in the right direction.

"The move is one that some see as a step in the right direction. "These kind of preventative strategies that the government can put in place, which is making it tougher for people to drive and drink at the same time, is a good thing," said Rose. "I mean, those ids of policies help protect our community."

If states adopt the proposal, it could mean less business for bars and restaurants. "It's kind of a catch-22," said Shane Hoyne, manager at Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub and Restaurant in Syracuse. "In one way, it's good because people are going to take less risks, and it means the roads are going to be safer. But yes, it will have an effect on our business, so it's a tough one."

Reaching the .05 proposed limit would mean a different number of drinks, based on the individual. For a 120-pound woman, that could mean one drink. For a 180-pound man, however, it could mean two drinks. The number varies based on gender and weight, as well as how much a person has eaten, the duration between drinks, and the activity level while drinking.

Determining that limit might prove difficult. "I don't even know what the difference between .05 and .08 would be," said Anne Di Fino of Syracuse. "So, honestly, I'd probably just keep drinking the way I've been drinking, but it would probably make me think about it a little bit more."

The proposal is only a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board; the board cannot put laws or regulations into place.