New Ohio law hikes fuel tax, lowers drunken driving limit

| Wednesday, October 22, 2003

A new law already being enforced in Ohio will have a big impact on the trucking industry.

Some provisions of HB87, which was signed by the governor earlier this year, went into effect July 1. Those included an increase in the motor vehicle fuel tax, which was increased by 2 cents a gallon July 1, and will increase another 2 cents a galloon in 2004 and 2005.

In addition, the bill lowered the state’s blood alcohol content limit to 0.08 percent. That provision also went into effect July 1, a spokesman with the state’s Highway Patrol said.

According to The Associated Press, that provision has led to 155 arrests during the first two months that the law was in effect. That’s on top of 485 drivers who refused to take the test and were automatically referred for license suspension and other drivers who were arrested by local police and sheriff's officials and not included in the patrol number, the news service said.

If Ohio had not lowered the drunken driving limit, it would have lost millions in highway funds.

Ohio has already forfeited $6 million per year since 1998 and was risking losing $120 million more in federal highway funds over the next four years if it had not passed the law, according to local media.

A 2000 federal law requires each state's legislature to adopt the 0.08 limit by 2004 or lose 2 percent of its highway money.

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