Senate Judiciary Committee votes to keep lower blood alcohol content limit

LANSING-The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to maintain the .08 blood alcohol limit for drunk driving. Sen. Rick Jones, chairman of the committee, and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker both voted to support the legislation.

“It’s important that Michigan keeps its BAC level at .08 and not go backwards,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Increasing the BAC limit will not only cause Michigan to lose important road funding dollars, but also make our streets more dangerous.”

Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, added, “Maintaining the .08 limit saves lives, plain and simple. There is no reason that someone who has consumed that much alcohol should be driving. Allowing the limit to return to .1 would only allow more dangerous drivers to be legally on the road and put our families at greater risk.”

In 2003, the Michigan Legislature passed a law lowering the blood alcohol limit for operating under the influence from .1 to .08. However, the Legislature included a sunset provision that would have allowed the BAC limit to return to .1 in 2013.

Testimony provided to committee members by the Michigan State Police, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Michigan Alcohol Policy Promoting Health & Safety offered evidence supporting the .08 limit. Studies have shown that virtually all divers are significantly impaired with a BAC of .08, and since Michigan implemented the .08 limit in 2003, drunk driving deaths have dropped by 25 percent.

This legislation passed the House of Representatives and Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. It will now go to the full Senate for a vote.