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Victim advocate, bartenders disagree with driving down the legal DUI limit

12:23 AM, May 15, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Federal safety officials want to lower the threshold for what is considered legally drunk from .08 percent to .05 percent.

But a Fleming Island mother, who lost her daughter to a drunk driving accident, doesn't think the change would make a difference.

"I don't think changing the limit is going to do anything. People just think it's never going to happen to them," said Gail Conner.

Conner's 33-year-old daughter, Michele, died May 27th, 2000 after she was hit by a drunk driver on Old St. Augustine Road.

Conner has turned her pain into a 9-year position with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The victim advocate reaches out to First Coast families dealing with an unimaginable reality.

"Your story is you lost your child, never to have them again, never had a chance to say goodbye. It's horrible. You learn to live and you go on, but you never forget," said Conner.

According to, changing the blood alcohol content from .08 percent to .05 percent would lower the number of legal drinks a 200 pound man can have from four to two-and-a-half.

Some of the bartenders at Kickbacks Gastropub think the change would undercut their business. The Riverside bar said they already have a plan in place for customers too drunk to drive.

"We stop serving them, offer to call them a cab, offer them food, try to calm them down, try to stop it before it gets to that point," said Jymmie O'Connell, a bartender at Kickbacks.

The Jacksonville chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving tells FCN they're not in favor of the changes.

The organization believes the only way to stop drunk driving is education and the conscious decision to hand over the car keys.

First Coast News

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