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Oregon Governor Backs Bill to Lower Drunk Driving Limits

Having any amount of alcohol in your system results in impaired driving ability, which increases your risk for serious and potentially life-threatening car accidents and injuries. However, driving under the influence of a couple of drinks is not illegal in Portland, provided your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is not .08 percent or greater. In an effort to reduce the high number of drunk driving accidents that plague cities throughout the state, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has backed a legislative bill proposing to lower this limit to .05 percent.

Oregon Among First in Nation to Consider Lowering BAC Limit

According to a January 3, 2019 OregonLive news report, Oregon’s Governor is backing proposed legislation that would strengthen existing DUI laws. Only days before the announcement, Utah became the first state in the nation to reduce the legal BAC limit from the standard .08 to .05 percent. As drunk driving continues to be one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths across the nation, advocates claim that lowering the BAC level is the next logical step towards addressing the problem.

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney initially brought up the proposal, while acknowledging that it would likely be hard to pass. He expects to get resistance from the liquor industry, as well as from proponents who claim it criminalizes otherwise reasonable behavior and infringes on their personal rights. If approved, it would amount to having no more than three alcoholic beverages over the course of an hour for a 160-pound man, or roughly one drink in the same amount of time for a 140-pound women.

How Any Amount of Alcohol Increases Drunk Driving Accident Risks

While having one or two drinks while out with friends may seem like perfectly acceptable behavior, the fact is that any amount of alcohol in your system impacts your driving abilities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), common effects of even small amounts of alcohol include:

  • Impaired judgement, which may make it harder to stop drinking or to know when you have had too much;
  • Vision disturbances, which can make it harder to see traffic signs or signals and other drivers on the road;
  • Decreased concentration, making it harder to focus on the road in front of you;
  • Reduced reflex times, making it harder to respond to sudden changes in traffic, road, or weather conditions.

Both the governor and the Senate president claim that the high risks involved with drinking and driving make lowering the BAC level a logical step, allowing law enforcement officials to work more effectively in keeping impaired drivers off the roads.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Drunk drivers create serious hazards for everyone on the road. At the Johnston Law Firm, we provide strong legal representation for victims of drunk driving accidents, so they can get the compensation they need to recover. To request a consultation to discuss how we can assist you, reach out and contact our Portland DUI accident attorney today.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.