LANSING — Today, the House Criminal Justice Committee unanimously passed legislation solidifying the 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) as law in Michigan. Currently, there is a sunset provision in state law, which will expire in 2018. State Representative Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores), the sponsor of House Bill 5742, believes the sunset should be eliminated and .08 BAC should be the standing law. The companion bill, House Bill 5743, sponsored by Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) makes the necessary changes to the sentencing guidelines.
“Michigan’s 0.08 BAC is set to expire and revert back to a 0.10 BAC on October 1, 2018, but my bill eliminates any future sunsets and makes .08 the law,” said Roberts. “Keeping this level ensures we maintain federal transportation funds.”
In 2000, federal legislation was passed that required all states to establish a 0.08 BAC level for a state’s drunk driving offense by October 2003. Failure to do so would have resulted in federal highway funds being withheld incrementally each year that a state failed to pass such legislation. In 2003, Michigan enacted Public Act 61 which lowered the BAC level to 0.08 with a 10-year sunset provision. Public Act 23 of 2013 extended the sunset on the 0.08 BAC level for another five years to October 1, 2018.
“Since 2004, when the 0.08 BAC took effect, automobile crashes related to alcohol have decreased by 33 percent and fatalities have decreased by 23 percent” said Roberts. “The sunset should be eliminated. I don’t see any scenario where we go back to .10 BAC.”