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Accepting lower BAC a good decision

Tying the carrot of more than $50 million in federal highway funds to the little stick of lowering the blood alcohol limits in Colorado may have been a dirty trick, but it finally worked. Although legislators wanted to make a point (or two) by resisting lowering the BAC for drunken driving from .10 to .08, it was necessary and inevitable.

Colorado is in desperate need of the highway funds. After all, the difference is seemingly two beers or two beers with appetizers.

Some may argue that the lower limit will not make any difference in the amount of



alcohol-related accidents. But with nationwide statistics as reported by MADD showing that crashes decrease 7 percent by lowering the limit, it is a good idea.

Keeping the driving-while-ability-impaired charge should also be a detriment to drinking too much and driving. It has likely served as a wake-up call to many a casual reveler to watch their consumption more closely, and will continue to do so.



No one wants drunken drivers on the road. Lowering the limit should help some, but the state should also consider adding a stiffer penalty for the higher limit.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, out of 307 fatal alcohol-related crashes in 2002 in Colorado, 39 had a BAC under .08, and 268 had a BAC of more than .08. This statistic alone would be a good argument for another tier of penalties for the person who may have had more than just a cocktail at happy hour.

Although the state legislators did some grumbling about the stick, they finally realized the carrot was going to go away. They did the right thing by lowering the threshold. By grasping the stick, Colorado has gained twofold ” keeping our federal highway money and making those highways safer for everyone.


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