Bay State risks losing $54 million in federal highway dollars
over the next four years if it fails to toughen its drunken
driving laws, according to local media.
is the only state in which drivers are not considered impaired
if they register a blood alcohol level at or above the legal
limit, the Daily News Tribune reported. Instead, prosecutors
must prove drivers are under the influence.
Mitt Romney, who proposed the change in his fiscal 2004 budget
plan, said changing the law could be a financial boon to
cash-strapped state coffers.
current law, registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent
or higher on a breathalyzer test creates “a permissible inference” that
a driver was drunk – that then requires the prosecutor to
go one step further and prove the driver was impaired. The
proposed change would remove that burden of proof from prosecutors.
state has until October to change the law or lose 2 percent – $5.4
million – of its highway money in the fiscal year starting
in July, the newspaper reported. The losses multiply over
the next four years to a total of $54 million.
that adopt the new limit by 2007 can recover the withheld