TAMPA, Fla - The proposal to lower the blood alcohol content by nearly half would likely mean very little for how DUI arrests are handled in the Florida, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
"BAC only comes into play in fatal accidents and accidents causing serious bodily injury," explained Cpl. Scott Sitton who is assigned to HCSO's DUI task force.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday that all 50 states adopt a BAC level of .05 compared to the .08 standard currently on the books since the 1990s.
With reports showing that 10,000 lives are lost each year in DUI related accidents, the NTSB hopes this tighter standard will eliminate drunk driving. Lowering the rate to 0.05 would save about 500 to 800 lives annually, the safety board said.
Sitton told ABC Action News he sees far too many DUI related accidents and fatalities each year. However, he pointed out that Florida law handles determining impairment differently than many other states.
According to Sitton, judging a driver's imparity level is solely based on field sobriety tests. He is referring to the old school tests like being able to walk in a straight line while maintaining balance and having your eyes follow an officer's finger without moving your head.
Currently, the BAC of .05 is used by many industrialized countries.
"We are behind the world," says Robert Molloy of the NTSB.
Each state determines its own DUI laws. The NTSB has no power to change those laws just like individuals, according to Sitton, have no power to change how their body processes alcohol. In other words, Sitton said drinking one less beer or glass of wine is no way to determine your BAC.
"That is the biggest misnomer," he explained.