Rhode Island pursues stiffer drunken driving law, highway dollars

| 5/28/2003

With the threat of losing $17.3 million in federal transportation funds, the Rhode Island Senate unanimously passed legislation May 15 to lower the state’s blood-alcohol concentration limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08, according to local media.

Rhode Island is one of only about 12 states yet to conform to national pressure to approve the lower limit. The Ocean State has so far resisted a two-year-old federal law requiring all states to adopt the 0.08 standard by October or risk losing millions in federal highway dollars.

The state would forfeit $1.7 million next year, and $3.5 million, $5.2 million and $6.9 million would be withheld in the following years, The Providence Journal reported.

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

H5452, introduced by Rep. Peter T. Ginaitt, D-Warwick, now heads to the House for final approval before going to the governor.