Legislation sponsored by state Rep Klint Kesto was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder Wednesday, continuing a trend that has made roads safer for Michigan drivers.
The legislation maintains the current blood alcohol concentration (BAC) standard at 0.08 through 2021. The decision also ensures the state meets federal guidelines for BAC, allowing the state to qualify for additional road funding.
“Our roads are a priority in Michigan,” said Kesto, who was named 2017 Michigan Legislator of the Year by Mothers Against Drunk Driving on Nov. 1. “Maintaining the safety of our residents on Michigan roads is critical, so we must continue the 0.08 BAC benchmark that has made our roads progressively safer over the past 14 years.”
In 2000, federal legislation passed requiring all states to establish a 0.08 BAC level for a drunk driving offense by October 2003. Failure to do so would have resulted in federal highway funding sanctions implemented for each year 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 Oct. 1, 2018.
House Bill 4548 eliminates the Oct. 1, 2018 sunset of the 0.08 BAC standard, setting a new expiration date for Oct. 1, 2021. House Bill 4547, sponsored by Kesto, updates state sentencing guidelines to reflect the changes made in HB 4548.
Kesto’s legislation, now Public Act 152 of 2017, was approved by the House and Senate by a combined 144-0 vote.
“If we allow the BAC standards to slide backwards, we’ll have people getting the wrong message on drinking then driving,” said Kesto, chair of the House Law and Justice Committee. “This legislation keeps all drivers and their families safe on the road, while also maintaining consistent funding to continue our mission to improve major highways across Michigan.”