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National Academy of Sciences Unit Suggests Harsh New Drunk Driving Laws


April 1995

A research group has suggested strict new laws be passed to get a small but persistent group of drunk drivers off the road (Don Phillips, "Panel Urges Toughening of Drunk Driver Laws," Washington Post, Mar. 11, 1995, p. A12).

The Transportation Research Board Committee on Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Transportation, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, sent letters to the nation's governors urging them to consider ways to keep incorrigible drunk drivers from driving drunk.

"There remains a group of persistent drinking drivers who do not appear to be deterred by the threat of social disapproval or legal punishment," the letter said.

The committee cited statistics showing that one-third of people arrested for drunk driving have been convicted of the offense in the past. The letter promotes vehicle confiscation, "hot lists" of repeat offenders, and harsh sentences for driving after a drunk-driving license revocation.

The committee also recommends lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit to .08 percent (down from the .10 percent limit in most states), destroying the license plates of repeat offenders, and conducting stakeouts of the most serious repeat drunk drivers.

[To obtain a copy of the letter and accompanying report, "Strategies for Dealing With the Persistent Drinking Driver," contact the Transportation Research Board at 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20418, 202-334-2933. Ask for publication number 437. The report costs $18.00.]