HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut legislators have proposed a bill that would lower the state’s legal blood-alcohol content from .08% to .05%.

Proponents said that the change would make roads safer and save lives.

“The effects of what you do, potentially, can change the lives of many,” said Skip Church, whose son was killed by a drunk driver. “And that’s what happened to us.”

On July 10, 2004, Church’s life forever changed when his son, Dustin, was killed by a drunk driver.

“He was a remarkable kid who never had the opportunity to see what life would be like,” Church said. “We didn’t have the opportunity, either.”

For nearly two decades, Church and his wife, Colleen, have worked on the state and national level to strengthen laws.

“You can either continue to be victims or you can make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else,” Church said. “That’s what we decided.”

The push continues to put greater measures in place to deter drunk driving. A bipartisan group of lawmakers voiced support for the bill, which was advanced by the Transportation Committee, on Thursday at the State Capitol. One other state, Utah, has lowered the limit.

“It’s vital,” Sen. Christine Cohen (D-District 12) said. “It’s a lifesaving-measure.”

The bill also has the support of Sen. Tony Hwang (R-District 28).

“We need to take on the responsibilities for ourselves, our loved ones, and those we share the road with,” Hwang said.

There were 112 alcohol-impaired deadly crashes in 2021, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. A .05% law would reduce fatal alcohol-related crashes by 11%, according to Leah Walton, a safety advocate at the National Transportation Safety Board.

The prospects of passing this bill look dim this year, as it’s failed to get traction with only a few weeks left in the legislative session. 

“I think some members would support it instinctively,” House Speaker Matt Ritter (D-District 1) said. “I think other members will say you’re way out of line with other states.”

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora (R-District 86) released a statement to News 8:

“Discussion on tackling the impaired driving crisis we’re dealing with in Connecticut must extend beyond simply reducing the blood alcohol content limit. The reality is that it’s a societal problem driven not just by drinking but also more casual attitudes toward driving after using marijuana. And given that operators in so many crashes test well above the legal limit of .08, I have to question whether reducing the threshold to .05 will change anyone’s behavior and make our roads safer. No matter the fate of this proposal this session, I’m glad the proponents of this bill have kickstarted an important conversation I hope will continue.”

As this proposal is being discussed, Church is hoping people will take action in their own lives to save the lives of others.

“Don’t drink and drive, it’s really simple,” Church said. “Just make sure you have someone who can drive for you. Or use Uber or Lyft or some other transportation. Don’t chance it.”

The video below aired in our 5 p.m. newscast on May 18, 2023.