U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta recently
announced that 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have lowered
their lawful blood alcohol content laws to 0.08 and therefore received $47.8
billion in fiscal year 2004 incentive grants as a reward.
Colorado, Delaware and Minnesota had 2 percent of their
highway construction funds withheld as of the end of fiscal year 2003, Oct. 1,
Colorado and Minnesota enacted 0.08 blood alcohol content
laws that take effect July 1, 2004, and Aug. 1, 2005, respectively, and were
not eligible for the grants. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were
the latest additions to the 0.08 roster.
States were encouraged to adopt the 0.08 level when Congress
adopted it. The U.S. Department of Transportation says the penalty for not
complying increases in 2 percent increments each year to a maximum of 8 percent
in fiscal year 2007 and continues at that rate annually thereafter.