Texas Considering Lowering Drunk Driving Standard To One Beer

According to Fox TV Channel 14 in El Paso, Texas is reporting that the Texas state legislature is considering a law which could make it legal to arrest people who’ve had as little as one beer or a glass of wine.

According to Fox News:

The proposed law doesn’t saying people are drunk at that level, but it does say that drivers are “buzzed” at that point. The law targets drivers with a blood alcohol level between .05 and .07. It’s called the DWAI law, or driving while ability impaired.

I know I’ll take heat for saying this, but it seems to presuppose that any person whose BAC is below .08% is “impaired” to the extent that they’re a danger to themselves or others by driving. But that’s exactly the presumption we already made when we lowered the BAC standard from .1% to .08%. Even though it’s suggested that the penalties for driving “impaired” will be less than driving “drunk,” it will still have a chilling effect on businesses that serve alcohol and even further criminalizes legal behavior.

I’m not in favor of people driving drunk, but continually lowering the standard by which we measure that does nothing to actually stop the real problem drunk drivers. It’s not the solution, but it appears to be the extent of lawmakers and neo-prohibitionists’ creativity.

Fox News concludes with the time table for the new law. “The Texas Senate will discuss the proposed law and possibly pass it in January.”


  1. Spencer says

    I was surprised when my homebrew club got a breathalyzer (a decent quality one that we calibrate according to its maintenance schedule). At .08 BAC, I do not feel safe to drive. In fact, I don’t feel safe at .06. So, on that basis, it’s hard to disagree with the .08 level. On the other hand, I know that most of serious drunk driving is done by people with BAC well over 0.10, so lowering the level further isn’t going to do much to reduce the real problem drunk drivers.

  2. first stater says

    It’s only Texas with a head in the sand response. The neo-prohibitionists are chipping away, 0.01 at a time. I’m sure there is a great following of this legislation throughout America. Just my opinion.

    • Jay Brooks says

      No, you’re quite right. The same thing is being tried in other states, and I believe it’s even been successful in a few places.

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