Tougher drunken-driving law enacted in Massachusetts

| 7/3/2003

With a deadline approaching and millions in federal highway dollars slipping away, Massachusetts lawmakers reached a compromise June 30 on a tougher drunken-driving law.

The new statute, which takes effect immediately, makes a 0.08 percent blood alcohol level proof of intoxication rather than just another piece of evidence for juries to consider, the Boston Globe reported.

Massachusetts was the only state without such a law.

Lawmakers rushed H3873 to the governor’s desk Monday afternoon to beat the midnight deadline to avoid losing $2 million in federal highway funds.

The new law will also protect future highway dollars that are projected to reach $54 million over the next four years, the newspaper reported.

Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey signed the bill. Gov. Mitt Romney was traveling to the Czech Republic at the time, making Healey the acting governor.

The legislation also increases from 120 to 180 days the time that a driver’s license can be suspended for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test.