District of Columbia [D.C.] police are poised to begin alcohol detection testing once again sometime next month.
On Tuesday, July 10, the D.C. city council will consider a bill that would revamp the city’s controversial and troublesome alcohol detection program, impose more harsh consequences and streamline standards for intoxicated drivers.
Last year, after city council officials in D.C. learned that problems were frequently occurring with alcohol detection tests, particularly with regard to discrepancies and errors pertaining to blood alcohol levels of motorists, police discontinued using the alcohol detection program.
However, due to imminent consideration of emergency legislation police could re-institute the alcohol detection program as early as next month.
According to sources, legislation is likely to include many revisions including more harsh penalties with regard to drinking and driving. Instead of being subject to the general, nationwide blood alcohol limit of 0.08, commercial vehicle drivers are expected to meet a 0.04 blood alcohol limit. Research shows that a driver who weighs approximately 180 lbs. and consumes 2 normal-sized drinks in one hour would reach the 0.04 blood alcohol limit.
The new changes are expected to reduce the risk of safety complications that are often associated with semi-vehicle operators, heavy-vehicle operators and bus drivers, according to officials on the Judiciary Committee of the D.C. Council. Council officials reason that due to the fact that these types of drivers are working they have a greater responsibility to meet a rigorous standard that includes not consuming alcohol during times that they are driving for employers.
District law explicitly states that commercial vehicles weigh 26,000 lbs. or more. So, the next time that you are in D.C. and happen to rent a large “Uhaul” for whatever reason, you will be held to that lower or more rigorous blood alcohol limit.
Although, drivers of non-commercial vehicles will only be required to meet the 0.08 blood alcohol limit.
Meanwhile, under the new bill those drivers convicted of driving while intoxicated or under the influence are expected to receive up to 180 days in jail and a fine of as much as one thousand dollars. The current practice is to subject a 1st time offender to 90 days in jail and no more than $300 in fines. As you can see the new bill under consideration more than triples fines and exactly doubles the current jail time.
Consider the case of an individual with a 0.02 who is arrested subsequent to the new changes; he would be subject to a minimum of ten days in jail, which is two times the mandatory jail punishment already in place. The updated law will require that an individual convicted of driving while under the influence with a minor in the vehicle be subject to at least five days in jail.
The new changes are meant to meet the expectations and responsibilities consistent with modern times, as the current laws were written in 1925. Not only are the new laws expected to impose more harsh penalties, they are intended to prevent and deter driving while intoxicated in an effort to maximize public safety.
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Original article washingtonpost.com
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