GREENSBORO, N.C. -- How many drinks can you have before you’re legally considered too impaired to drive?

That number could change after the release of new government recommendations. Right now, you’re over the legal limit if your blood alcohol content is .08 or higher, but that could decrease to just .05.

Lowering legal limit

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine announced the recommendation Wednesday, saying the move would help combat drunk driving.

“.05 is, I mean it does not take much to get there,” said Brianna Craig.

She and other patrons at The Brewer’s Kettle bar and bottle shop in Kernersville were not enthusiastic about the possible change. The owner believes lowering the legal limit could impact business.

“It would probably increase a business’s liability I would think, because at that point you’re having to judge someone’s sobriety on a much lower level. So how can we do that?” said owner Andy Kennedy.

Officer Blake Jones with the Kernersville Police Department says a change in the legal limit will not affect how patrol officers do their jobs.

“It will be the exact same things. Impairment is impairment and in order for that to happen, you must have noticeable impairment. The fact we can see it. So, in terms of stopping a car and what to look for there and once you get to the driver’s side window and have some interaction with the driver, we don’t know those results whether it be an .08 or an .05 ‘til much later on in the investigation,” said Officer Jones.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it would take a 160 pound man just two drinks in one hour to reach a BAC of .05. A small woman of 100 pounds would reach that threshold after just one drink.

Here is a link to a chart from the NHTSA. They warn the results can vary depending on the amount of food in your stomach.

Along with lowering the blood alcohol content threshold, the panel also suggested states significantly increase alcohol taxes.

But remember, these are only federal recommendations and there is no official change to state law at this point.

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