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Healthy People 2010 - With Annotations

Chapter 26

Adverse Consequences of Substance Use and Abuse

26-25. Extend legal requirements for maximum blood alcohol concentration levels of 0.08 percent for motor vehicle drivers aged 21 years and older.

Target:
All States and the District of Columbia.

Baseline: 16 States had legal requirements for maximum blood alcohol concentration levels of .08 percent for motor vehicle drivers aged 21 years and older in 1998.

Target setting method: Total coverage.

Data source: DOT, NHTSA.

More than 80 percent of the drivers involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels exceeding 0.08 percent. An average man weighing 170 pounds must consume in 1 hour more than four drinks on an empty stomach to reach a 0.08 BAC level.(122) Most States that have enacted 0.08 BAC legislation experienced significant decreases in alcohol-related fatal crashes. For example, a 12 percent reduction in alcohol-related fatalities occurred in California in 1990, the year 0.08 legislation and an ALR law went into effect.(122)

As of August 1998, 50 States and the District of Columbia had established BAC cutoff levels of 0.00, 0.01, or 0.02 to define driving under the influence for individuals under age 21 years. A zero tolerance law makes driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in the blood illegal for persons under age 21 years. Because young drivers place such a high value on their driver's licenses, the threat of license revocation has proved to be an effective sanction for this age group.(122)


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Last modified: 15-Mar-2000.