Magazine article State Legislatures

Teaching Drivers about the Costs of Drinking

Magazine article State Legislatures

Teaching Drivers about the Costs of Drinking

Article excerpt

A recent national survey by The Century Council revealed that 70 percent of Americans don't know the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for their state.

The Century Council is a national not-for-profit organization funded by leading alcohol beverage distillers. The goal of the survey was to raise public awareness of BAC laws and alcohol's effect on drivers.

States have traditionally relied on public service campaigns to increase driver awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other traffic safety advocates have provided public service advertisements for print media and television aimed at reducing drunk driving, and such campaigns are considered successful.

But the results of The Century Council's survey show that more needs to be done to educate the driving public.

A number of states are using innovative means to inform drivers about drunk driving laws and penalties.

The New Hampshire legislature passed a law in 1997 that requires first-time applicants for a driver's license be told about the state's BAC limits, the penalties for violating the laws or refusing a breath test, the fees to have a license reinstated and the sanctions for unlawful possession or consumption by minors. To make sure the word gets out, New Hampshire has developed several brochures, including one called "What's the Cost for You?" which is available online and also in booklet form. The brochure is geared toward younger drivers, but covers the basics of drunk driving laws for all drivers. …

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