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Michigan May Raise Blood Alcohol Limit From .08 To .10 For Drivers

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Prior to 2003, drivers in Michigan weren’t considered drunk unless they had a blood alcohol content of .10.

Current law sets the legal blood alcohol level at .08. The legal blood alcohol level will return to the pre-2003 level of .10 this fall unless a new law is voted in.

When the new level of .08 became law in 2003 it had a “sunset clause”.  The sunset clause means the law will expire on October 1, unless it is voted on once again.

At least one bill aims to keep the law as-is.

Representative Andrea LaFontaine (R-Columbus Township) introduced one such bill. explains:

LaFontaine introduced House Bill 4093 to make sure the blood alcohol content limit doesn’t budge.

LaFontaine said Michigan originally lowered its BAC from .10 to .08 in 2000 to comply with federal standards.

LaFontaine’s bill eliminates the sunset clause, ensuring that levels stay at .08.

When the law went into effect in 2003, then Michigan Secretary of State, Terri Lynn Land said:

The lower limit means safer roads, tougher laws and greater penalties. This tool gives you a better chance of coming home alive. 

Clemson University examined the differences between different blood alcohol levels. describes a blood alcohol level of .08 to .09:

Your sense of balance is probably off, and your motor skills are starting to become impaired. Your ability to see and hear clearly is diminished.

Doesn’t sound like someone who should be driving.

Clemson University also provides a chart of expected blood alcohol levels for men and women based on the amount of alcohol drank and over how long of a period of time it was drunk.

Using Clemson’s chart as a guide, you can make a better case for the blood alcohol limit to be lowered below .08, than you can to raise back up to .10.

Here’s hoping the lawmakers don’t allow the sunset clause to take effect and instead act to prevent the legal blood alcohol content from returning to .10.

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