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INDIANAPOLIS — Now that Utah has become the first state in the U.S. to lower its legal limit for drunk driving to 0.05, a former state senator says the same limit should be set for Indiana.


Tom Wyss served in the Indiana Senate for nearly 30 years and was among the group of state lawmakers who made the push to lower the legal limit in 2001 from 0.10 to 0.08. 


He said the overall goal was to eventually lower the limit to 0.05.


“Going to 0.08 was a stop-gap because 0.05 is a point at which the majority of people are impaired to the point where they should not drive,” according to Wyss, who says that the threat of having federal funding pulled during the Clinton administration if all 50 states did not lower their drunk driving limits to 0.08 is what eventually got the law passed in 2001 after he said he pushed for it at the Statehouse for more than a decade.


Wyss believes that lowering the threshold would make someone think twice about deciding to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol if an arrest was more likely to happen.


“It’s not about arresting somebody.  What it’s about is making somebody aware that they should be more responsible and not be drinking and driving.  We’re losing people to death all because somebody has taken the irresponsible way of drinking and driving,” says Wyss.


Wyss says the law in Indiana won’t change until there is more education that people are impaired with a blood alcohol content of 0.05.  He also says greater pressure is needed on state lawmakers by their constituents to make that change.


The former state senator says he’s not against drinking, but he is against those who would put other lives in danger by taking a risk by driving drunk.


“Party ’til you puke, but don’t get in a car and drive,” says Wyss.



Photo: Getty Images / Joe Raedle