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National .08 BAC standard may rise again; BAA urges action.

The Senate Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee was meeting at press-time to consider the FY 2001 budget for the Department of Transportation (DOT). During this hearing, the Brewers' Association of America reports that Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) may once again offer an amendment to implement a national .08 BAC standard. He offered the same amendment in 1998. He was unsuccessful then.

"This issue could have direct bearing on your business," says BAA president Daniel Bradford. "Retail and wholesale organizations are actively opposing this issue."

Bradford and the BAA offered talking points on the issue:

* A report by the General Accounting Office released on June 23, 1999, concluded that lowering the drunk driving standard to .08 "does not conclusively establish that .08 laws, by themselves, result in reductions in the number and severity of alcohol-related crashes."

* The high level BAC repeat offender should be the target. The vast majority of drunk driving fatalities are caused by drivers with BACs far over the .10 limit currently in place in 35 states, The average BAC among fatally injured drunk drivers is .18 percent.

* Alternatives to a forced .08 BAC standard exist, including administrative licensing revocation, graduated licensing, mandatory minimum sentences, treatment for repeat offenders, vehicle forfeiture, and ignition interlocks.

"Your local wholesaler is getting involved with this issue," Bradford notes. "The National Beer Wholesalers Association has organized a grass roots campaign through their membership to contact committee members and ask them to oppose this legislation."

Senate Appropriations Committee Members: Republican: Tad Stevens (AK), Than Cochran (MS), Arlen Specter (PA), Pete Comenici (NM), Christopher Bond (MO), Slade Gorton (WA), Mitch McConnell (KY), Conrad Burns (MT), Richard Shelby (AL), Judd Gregg (NH), Robert Bennett (UT), Ben Campbell (CO), Larry Craig (ID), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), Jon Kyl (AZ). Democrats: Robert Byrd (WV), Daniel Inouye (HI), Emest Hollings (SC), Patrick Leahy (VT), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Tom Harkin (IA), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Harry Reid (NV), Herbert Kohl (WI), Patty Murray (WA), Byron Dorgan (ND), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Richard Durbin (IL).
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Title Annotation:Brewer's Association of America
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 19, 2000
Words:331
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