CHARLESTON, WV, July 27 – Blood alcohol levels are different from state to state. In West Virginia and Ohio it’s .10, but in Kentucky it’s .08. Now there’s a push to make all states .08 so that drunk drivers face the same consequences wherever they drive.
Right now only 18 states have a blood alcohol content of .08. Research shows there are fewer drunk drivers on the roads in those states.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving want all states to have the same blood alcohol level; .08. That’s a tougher law than what is currently on the books in West Virginia. If states don’t comply, they would suffer the consequences.
“If a state chose not to drop it to .08 it would have to give up some federal highway dollars and in a state like West Virginia, we can’t afford to do that,” says Bill Woodrum, executive director of MADD of WV.
Parents like Warren Estes feel this would make our roads safer.
“You would be taking a lot of people who think they’re not drunk, which they are, off the road and save a lot of other people’s lives,” Estes says.
Nancy Naylor believes lowering the blood alcohol level would be unfair.
“If you lower it, individuals won’t have the independence to frequent restaurants that have lounges and bars to have wine or a cocktail,” Naylor says. Zane Garrett is a manager at a bar and restaurant in Charleston. He supports the change but doesn’t think it’s going to change people’s drinking habits.
“I don’t think it would hurt our business at all because people are still going to come out to eat and drink and have a good time,” Garrett says.
Lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate will discuss changing the blood alcohol limit so it’s the same in every state. The Senate included the .08 change in one of its bills but the House didn’t. The two sides will meet to iron out their differences. If this becomes legislation, states that don’t comply could lose federal highway dollars.