INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The National Transportation Safety Board has proposed changing the legal limit for driving under the influence from .08 to .05.
The goal is to reduce the number of drunk driving related crashes. State police say there are hundreds of crashes each year due to drivers who have BAC levels below the legal limit, but who could still be impaired. It’s an issue that’s personal to Larry Higgins, who lost his son to a drunk driver.
An urn, a small wooden box filled with ashes, name etched on the front, is all Higgins has left of his son, Jamey Higgins.
“Our son was killed by a drunk driver on I-65 in Nashville, TN. The drunk was actually going the wrong way on the interstate and hit him head on,” he said.
Both cars went up in flames and both died. Jamey was burned beyond recognition. He was just 31 years old. That was seven years ago. Today, Higgins turns the page to a new chapter. In a binder he keeps newspaper clippings and stories about his son. He channels his pain by helping others. He has used his tragedy to become a spokesperson through his organization People Against Impaired Driving or PAID. Higgins speaks at schools, fairs, in court.
Higgins is in support of anything that would prevent impaired driving, including lowering the legal limit for driving under the influence.
According to Indiana State Police, in 2015 drivers with BAC levels below the legal limit of .08 were still responsible for hundreds of crashes. There were 450 crashes in Indiana with 240 injuries and seven deaths due to drivers with BAC levels between .07 and .05, according to authorities.
“A vast amount of crashes that happen over the night involve some kind of alcohol. If lowering the BAC would substantially decrease the number of crashes, then I think that’s something our legislatures will take a look at,” said Sgt. John Perrine of the Indiana State Police.
Still, it’s just a proposal. One that would require support to become a law. But, it’s already garnered some support. At least, with one dad.
“I don’t have any objections. I’ll probably catch some slack for saying what I’m saying. But, they haven’t lost a child. I have and it’s hard,” said Higgins.
The last time the BAC limit was lowered was back in 2001 when it went from .10 to .08.