Senate votes for .08%

Measure ties national drunken driving standard to highway funds

June 16, 2000 - The Senate has passed a measure that would make .08 percent blood alcohol content the allowable limit for driver nationwide, but the proposal faces opposition in the House as negotiators from both houses try to adopt a transportation spending bill.


The national drunken driving standard was part of a $54.7 billion bill passed by the Senate this week. "This reasonable standard will save hundreds of lives and prevent countless injuries each year and it should be put in place across the country without further delay," President Clinton said in urging Congress to send him a transportation bill that includes the measure.

The House has blocked past Senate efforts to make the standard 0.08, which is now the limit in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The other 32 states allow 0.10 percent levels. In the past two years 31 states have rejected .08.

The Senate bill would deduct a state's federal highway trust fund share if it does not adopt the 0.08 level. Mothers Against Drunk Driving argues that the risk of a fatal crash is 11 times greater from a driver at 0.08 than for a non-drinking driver. The American Beverage Institute counters by citing a study finding the risk of an accident for a 0.10 driver is the same as for a driver using a cell phone.

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