Delaware Senate did not vote on a bill to lower the state’s drunken-driving
threshold during a brief special session Sept. 24, The New Castle-Wilmington
News Journal reported.
Ruth Ann Minner had planned to call Senators back to the Capitol
Sept. 24 to vote on two judicial nominees, The News Journalreported
recently, which would also allow them to vote on lowering the blood
alcohol limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent by Sept. 30.
the state doesn’t lower the limit by the end of the month, it stands
to lose $1.6 million in federal highway funds. The penalty increases
in future years.
Delaware State News reported earlier in the week that the Senate
was unlikely to vote on the bill.
number of legislators, including some Senate leaders, have said
publicly in the past that they opposed the effort to lower the limit.
passed the House in April, but it has languished since then in the
Senate Judiciary Committee. In addition to lowering the basic limit,
under the bill, 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.
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.
Delaware General Assembly is usually in session from January through
late June. It cannot take up another measure on drunken driving
limits until its next session begins.