Police Unsure How Lowering BAC Levels Would Affect Arrests

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Police officials said Wednesday they are not sure how a change in the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) would affect DUI arrest rates. The National Transportation Safety Board said this week it recommends lowering the legal BAC level from .08 to .05.

As of right now in Missouri, if a driver has a BAC of .08 or higher, that driver is subject to arrest.  However, Columbia Police officials said an individual can still be arrested if impaired, even if the blood-alcohol content is below the .08 level.

"There could be more arrests but that is hard to speculate on because we don't track how many people we test that are under the legal limit and then let go or charge," said Sgt. Joe Bernhard.

The state would have to change laws to lower the legal BAC limit to .05.