Cut Drunk Driving Standard to .05 Percent, MADD Canada Says

Quebec should cut its legal blood-alcohol limit to .05 percent as recommended by the province's transport minister in 2007, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada says.

The London Free Press reported Oct. 27 that MADD Canada spokesperson Marie-Claude Morin said that the risk of a crash increases fivefold between .05 percent and .08 percent — the current BAC standard in Canada and the U.S.

“Sixty-five countries around the world have adopted lower BACs (blood-alcohol content),” Morin said. “Research has consistently shown you can become impaired even at low levels.”

Transport minister Julie Boulet had proposed lowering the legal limit to .05 percent and suspending drivers' licenses for 24 hours when BAC readings fell between .05 percent and .08 percent.

A legislative panel is expected to address the question in a report this fall; Canada's Center for Addiction and Mental Health estimated that lowering the BAC level to .05 percent could save 555 lives each year in Canada. But the hospitality industry opposes the change.

“(We) fear a more severe standard of the BAC would modify considerably the spending patterns of people who respect the laws,” said Francois Meunier, vice-president of the Quebec Restaurateurs Association. “It would inevitably result (in) serious consequences for the restaurants, the bars and the hotels.”

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