A Washington House committee heard testimony Tuesday on a bill that would lower the state’s blood alcohol level threshold for drunken driving from .08 to .05.
The state of Washington arrested 28,000 people for drunk driving last year. That figure is down from about 40,000 a few years ago.
The United States as a whole, saw its biggest jump in drunk driving deaths in 10 years in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2015, 35,092 people lost their lives on U.S. roadways, which is a 7.2 percent increase from 2014.
While there was a siginificant increase in deaths, 18 states actually had fewer alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2015 compared to 2014. Florida was not one of them. The 5 states that experienced the biggest increases in deaths include Florida (+103), Georgia (+87), Arizona (+72), Oregon (+56) and Michigan (+55).
Florida saw 2,939 motor vehicle fatalities in 2015. Of those, 797 were alcohol-related tragedies. This is a 17.8 percent increase from the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths in 2014.
All states have the right to establish their own BAC limits, but currently all states set the BAC at .08 for DUI arrests. It will be interesting to see in time if more states choose to set their own BAC or keep it uniform across all states.