MADD, Michigan State Police: It's a no-brainer
The blood alcohol content limit for driving in Michigan could increase if the state legislature doesn't act soon. And many, including Michigan's Mothers Against Drunk Driving, are calling on lawmakers to prevent that scheduled increase.
Right now the BAC limit for driving in the state is .08%, but it's scheduled to go up to .10% if no changes are made. That increase has many urging lawmakers to act fast.
It was under President Clinton's legislation from 2003 that all states would be financially penalized for failing to enact .08% drunk driving laws -- a standard measured by breath, blood or urine test.
".08% equates to somebody who weighs approximately 200 lbs. and drinks between 4 to 5 beers in a two-hour period," said Rich Hall, Michigan State Police Officer. "Two Shots and two beers can be quite devastating."
When the current law was written, it called for the state's limit to increase to .10% this year, and if that happens, Michigan could lose out on $50 million a year in federal funds.
"Extra highway funding, extra federal funding for police agencies -- if they come in compliance with this -- then it's consistent from state to state, said Clarence Gomery, defense attorney and former prosecutor."
If the Michigan's House Judicial Committee does not approve this package of bills, the drunk driving limit will increase to .10% in October.
According to M.A.D.D, statistics show, with the current .08% limit, there's been a 25% decrease in alcohol-related deaths. Is it because of better law enforcement, more awareness, or does 'why' even matter?
"Who cares? It appears to be effective," said Gomery. "If it helps educate and it helps deter and it helps the state get more federal funding to make our roads safer -- of course I'm OK with it."
The bill: a nod from local law enforcement to get Michigan in line with the other 49 states.
"It saves lives, it saves emergency room visits," said Hall. "Also, it lowers our insurance costs throughout the state (being a no-fault state)."
And it's a message M.A.D.D is pressing to make permanent.
"If we can keep a level that is an across-the-board level, it will assist in our mission to not only eliminate drunk driving, but to have less victims," said Geneva Maze, Michigan's M.A.D.D Manager of Victims Services. "What we want to do is what the other states have done and put it into the book as law."
Overall, it's what many are calling a "no-brainer."
"To me, it's pretty scary," said Hall. "I think everybody out there should be contacting their state rep and state legislature and letting them know how important it is to keep our roads safe here in Michigan."