New drunk driving law may help curb problem

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2000

With the stroke of a pen, President Bill Clinton may save hundreds of American families the anguish of losing a relative to a drunk driving accident.

Congress passed a tougher nationwide standard on what blood alcohol content is considered legally drunk. With the bill, Congress has given states an ultimatum: Lower the legal limit to 0.08 BAC or stand to lose millions of dollars in federal highway money.

The bill is expected to arrive on Clinton’s desk in the next few days. It won’t stay there long since the president will almost certainly sign it into law.

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Mississippi and Louisiana are among 31 states that use a more liberal standard — 0.10 BAC. We hope that when the bill becomes law, both states will quickly adopt the new standard, or show how progressive the South can be by lowering the limit further than is required by the new law.

The bill comes too late for many Mississippi and Louisiana residents. The statistics are staggering. Thousands have been died senselessly simply because someone got behind the wheel of a car while drunk.

Last year alone, almost 800 people died in alcohol-related accidents in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Unfortunately the new blood alcohol content standard won’t stop all drunk-driving accidents, but it’s a step. It’s a step in a long process of ridding our country of a needless threat.

And we hope that this new law helps us get closer to that goal.