0.08 alcohol limit a good thing for state

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Starting Aug.

Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Starting Aug. 1, Minnesota roads may be a little safer. That’s when a new state law may go into effect, decreasing the legal blood alcohol level from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent.

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The initiative passed the Senate legislative committee last Wednesday, and supporters are certain it will become law this time around.

Without the lower standard, Minnesota could lose federal road funds.

In addition to keeping those federal dollars, more lives will be saved.

While lower standards could encourage those who would drink and drive to stay off the roads, thereby possibly sparing lives, the bill still faces obstacles.

The bill moves now to the Finance Committee. Advocates for local and county governments on that committee claim the 0.08 percent standard will cost local governments more money – $20 million annually.

Also, members of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association are fighting the proposal, saying the emphasis needs to be on repeat offenders, not a lower limit that will cost the industry money.

While both may be valid arguments, the fact remains that lower the legal limit to 0.08 is the best choice for the state.

Lowering the limit will guarantee the state $6 million in federal highway funds.

Plus, it will discourage impaired individuals from driving, which could lead to fewer lives lost. And you simply can’t put a price on that.