Technical Report Documentation Page  

1. Report No.
DOT HS 809 215
2. Government Accession No.
3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Evaluation of Enhanced Sanctions for Higher BACs: Summary of States' Laws

5. Report Date

March 2001

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Anne T. McCartt

8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Preusser Research Group, Inc.
7100 Main Street
Trumbull, CT -6611

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

Amy Berning served as the NHTSA Contracting Officer's Technical Representative for this study.

16. Abstract

Twenty-nine states have a statute, regulation, or rule that provides for additional or more severe sanctions for DUI offenders with a “high” BAC. States vary in terms of the high-BAC threshold, which ranges from .15 to .20 percent, and the types, severity, and complexity of sanctions. Types of high-BAC sanctions include limitations on plea reductions or deferred judgments; driver-based punitive sanctions (jail, electronic home monitoring, community restitution, fines, license suspension/revocation); vehicle-based punitive sanctions (ignition interlock, administrative plate impoundment); and alcohol treatment/education. Highway safety offices in all states with such sanctions were contacted. Most reported few problems with implementing high-BAC sanctions and believe the sanctions have had a positive impact on the state's DUI system. Concerns and problems that were noted include: 1) high-BAC sanctions may further complicate an already complex DUI system; 2) high-BAC sanctions may increase the number of BAC test refusals; 3) courts and/or prosecutors may allow high-BAC offenders to plead to a lower charge and, thus, evade the enhanced penalties; 4) courts may view the enhanced penalties as onerous and, thus, fail to impose the penalties; and 5) concerns about jail overcrowding or increased incarceration costs and the limited availability of treatment programs in some areas may hinder the effectiveness of these sanctions. These issues will be addressed in the second stage of the study, an in-depth evaluation of high-BAC sanctioning programs in selected jurisdictions.

17. Key Words

alcohol-impaired driving, DUI, alcohol-impaired driving sanctions, DWAI, high-BAC, BAC

18. Distribution Statement

This report is available to the public from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Springfield, VA 22161 (703) 605-6000. It is also available, free of charge, on the NHTSA web site at www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
21. No. of Pages
22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized