bill that would establish a tougher standard
for drunken driving in Delaware has stalled
in a Senate committee.
would lower the state’s legal blood alcohol
content level from 0.10 to 0.08 percent.
In addition, if a driver were over 0.16
percent, twice the legal limit under the
bill, that driver would not be eligible
for the state’s First Offender Program.
bill passed the House 39-0 on April 17.
In early May, it was assigned to the Senate
Judiciary Committee, but it has not moved
out of the committee. The regular legislative
session ended in June, and a special session
held in July has also passed. A spokeswoman
at the General Assembly said the Senate
might have another special session in
the fall, possibly September, when the
bill could be considered.
legislators have said publicly they opposed
the effort to lower the limit. Another
bill to lower the limit was killed earlier
in the session. HB37, sponsored by Rep.
William A. Oberle, R-Beecher’s Lot, was
withdrawn from consideration April 3.
according to The New Castle-Wilmington
News-Journal, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner
supports the concept of lowering the limit
and listed it as a legislative priority
for this year.
2000 federal law requires each state’s
legislature to adopt the 0.08 limit by
2004 or lose 2 percent of its highway
money. If the state doesn’t lower its
limit to 0.08 by October, it stands to
lose $1.6 million in federal highway funds,
the Delaware State News reported
recently. The penalty escalates in future
years. States that adopt the new limit
by 2007 can recover the withheld funds.