Rhode Island criminalizes 0.08 blood alcohol in drivers

| 7/9/2003

Gov. Donald Carcieri signed legislation – H5452 – July 2 that secures federal highway aid by making it a criminal offense to drive with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent.

Under previous law, it was illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration limit between 0.08 and 0.10 percent, but it was a civil offense.

The federal government, seeking to impose the stricter standard, has been threatening to withhold millions in highway dollars from states that haven’t made it a criminal offense by the beginning of the next fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

Rhode Island stood to lose $17 million by 2007 if it failed to conform.