Colorado seat-belt, DUI bill passes Senate committee

| 3/5/2003

A Colorado Senate committee gave the go-ahead Feb. 26 to legislation that would prevent the state from losing about $60 million in federal highway dollars, according to local media.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-1 in favor of a measure to permit police to pull over drivers for not wearing a seat belt and to stiffen the state’s drunken driving standards for DUIs from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent blood alcohol content.

Under current law, officers can issue seat-belt citations only if they stop drivers for another traffic violation.

With new authority, police can pull over drivers if they see anyone in the front seat not wearing seat belts.

The blood alcohol section would bring Colorado in line with federal requirements and keep the state from losing $60 million in federal highway funds by 2008, The Durango Herald reported.

A 2000 federal law requires each state’s legislature to adopt the 0.08 limit by 2004 or lose 2 percent of its highway money.

States that adopt the new limit by 2007 can recover the withheld funds.

The bill, SB125, sponsored by Sen. Ken Arnold, R-Westminster, now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.