Thursday, February 13, 2003

Bills to try again for lower DUI limit in Ohio

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - The threshold for drunken driving would be lowered under bills introduced in the Ohio House and Senate on Wednesday.

Ohio defines the standard for drunken driving as 0.10 percent blood alcohol content. The proposed legislation would set the limit at 0.08 percent, as mandated by a federal law Congress passed in 2000.

Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to pass a similar bill last year. They were thwarted by former Senate President Richard Finan, a Cincinnati Republican, who opposed the measure.

Finan said the bill targeted social drinkers, not the people who habitually drink too much and then drive. Finan left the Legislature last year because of term limits.

Republican lawmakers said Wednesday that lowering the limit was necessary to avoid losing $120 million in federal highway funds in the next four years.

The 2000 federal law requires each state's legislature to set the limit at 0.08 percent by 2004 or lose 2 percent of its highway money.

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