Monday, October 01, 2001

Ohio has resisted .08 level

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Bills to lower Ohio's standard from 0.10 to 0.08 have been introduced in the General Assembly every year since 1995, but none made it out of committee until this year. The most recent measure will go before the House for a vote this fall.

        Supporters have argued that medical evidence shows lowering the limit would affect only those who are too impaired to drive.

        But critics, including Ohio Senate President Richard Finan, R-Evendale, say the proposed law also would affect responsible social drinkers who might have a few drinks after work or with dinner but are still capable of driving safely.

        During the past year, 10 states — faced with the loss of federal highway funding for road and bridge maintenance and repairs — have adopted the 0.08 blood-alcohol standard. Ohio stands to lose nearly $48 million in federal highway funds if it does not pass a law establishing a 0.08 standard by Oct. 1, 2006.

        Mr. Finan has called Congress' threat to withhold highway money “federal blackmail.”


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