Locals, officials respond to national DUI recommendation

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Updated: 5/15/2013 6:49 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- This week the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending the blood alcohol content level for a DUI be lowered from .08 to .05, so News 4 talked to local law enforcement and alcohol counselors to see if they think it would lower the number of people who drive drunk in northern Nevada.

"Every day somebody goes to jail for DUI in Washoe County," said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen. 

Allen said most of those drivers are significantly beyond the legal blood alcohol limit.

"The average BAC of DUI offenders in Washoe County is between .16 and .17," Allen said. 

Allen said having a BAC of .05 doubles your chance of being in a crash.

Two drinks in one hour is enough to put most people over the .08 limit, but with these new recommendations drinking just one beer could be enough to get you a DUI.

Ron Finfer owner of Ability Counseling said he doesn't know yet if he's in favor of lowering the limit.

"If someone is going to get their first DUI for having one drink, that's a lot to consider," Finfer said.

No matter what the law is, Allen said it's up to people to be responsible.

"It's a preventable crime," Allen said. "It's all about the choices people make."

If there's any question about whether you're able to drive, Ability counseling intern Alex Chichester says the choice should be no.

"If they're having that debate with themselves, they're probably legally intoxicated, whether or not they can safely operate the vehicle home," Chichester said. 

Which is why Allen said you should always plan for someone to stay sober.

"It needs to be the person who has not consumed any amount of alchol, not the person at the party who has had the least to drink," Allen said.

According to NHP reports, there were 571 DUI-related crashes in Washoe County last year. So far this year, three people have died in alcohol-related crashes.
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