Skip to Main Navigation

U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C.
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/

News


NHTSA 29-04
Friday, July 2, 2004
Contact: Ellen Martin
Telephone: (202) 366-9550

All U.S. States Now Have .08 BAC Laws,
With Passage of Legislation in Delaware

On the eve of the busy holiday weekend, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today commended Delaware for lowering the state's legal threshold for impaired driving to a .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Once signed into law by Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, Delaware will become the final state in the country to adopt the .08 BAC legal standard.

The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico also have adopted .08.

"We now have a law of the land. The message is clear: nationwide, there is no room on our roads for drinking and driving," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta. "Tougher laws mean safer roads and more lives saved."

According to preliminary estimates, 40 percent - 17,401 - of 43,220 highway deaths in 2003 were alcohol-related.

With police agencies nationwide stepping up enforcement over the July 4 holiday weekend, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Jeffrey Runge, M.D., warned about the consequences of drinking and driving.

"If you drive impaired, it can ruin your life," said Dr. Runge. "It's just not worth the risk of being arrested, or worse, harming someone else."

When Congress adopted the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in 1998, it provided $500 million in incentives to states adopting .08 BAC laws. With Delaware's approval, all states have met the requirements for those incentive grants.