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Putting a Stop to Drinking and Driving

The decision that was made back in September of 2003, lowering the legal blood alcohol limit from .10 to .08. It was an attempt to discourage drunk driving, but officials say the change in the limit unfortunately hasn't caused much change in Wisconsin drivers.

The Associated Press reports that during the first three months of lowering the limit to .08, the number of drunk drivers and fatal accidents did not go down, as expected. Wausau police say it's a problem that needs major attention.

"The main thing is getting the message to people that if they're going to drink, they need to monitor it closely if thinking about driving as well," says Chief Bill Brandimore, Wausau Police Department.

Brandimore says arrests in Wausau for drunk driving since .08 went into effect have stayed the same. He says the average arrests involving drunken driving is over .17 percent.

In 2003 alone, there were more than 9,000 accidents in Wisconsin involving alcohol.

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Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

  • Legal drinking age in the United States is 21.

  • Forty-six states have "Zero Tolerance Laws" for underage drinking and driving, meaning that drivers under 21 years of age are considered to be legally intoxicated with a much lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that drivers who are 21 or older.

  • BAC varies from 0.00 to 0.02 depending on the state.

  • Illinois has a BAC of 0.00 for drivers under 21, which can be broken from as little as one drink.

  • For drivers 21 and over, the BAC is 0.08.

  • If charged with a DUI, the offender can have his or her license suspended for 90 days to one year, and pay fines of up to $1,000.

  • Fines and jail time can increase significantly if you injure someone or cause major damage.

  • Second and subsequent offenses may be dramatically more severe.

  • Affect on Insurance: If your license is suspended, your insurance company (preferred carrier) will drop you and your entire family.

  • If you get your license back, you will pay 40-60 percent higher rates.

  • In Illinois, a DUI stays on your record for 5-7 years.

Source: www.whatsdrivingyou.org contributed to this report