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Mothers Against Drunk Driving fights for the 0.08 BAC despite of little chance.

April 08, 1999
By: Maria Andres
State Capital Bureau
Links: SB 18

JEFFERSON CITY - The refusal of the House Crime Committee chairman to report out his committee's approval of a bill to crack down on drunken driving is drawing the wrath of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The ".08 initiative", was approved by the committee on March 3. It would lower the legal limit for drunken driving from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent.

Although approved by the committee, its chairman -- Sen. Harold Caskey, D-Butler, has not reported the bill out to the full Senate. The Senate cannot take action on the bill until Caskey reports out the bill, if ever.

But Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD, is not giving up so easily. Tom Bitter, spokesman of MADD and father of a 17-year-old boy killed by a drunk driver, supports the bill.

"There is still some time to put the bill on calendar. I have my reservations that it can be pass this year, but I will not stop until it does," Bitter said.

MADD expects to gather a group of 400 to 500 students to support the .08 BAC level on April 20, at the Capitol building in Jefferson City. The rally will be in honor of Kim Mosley, an 18 year old who died because of a .08 drunk driver. Balloons, T shirts and other entertainment activities will be used to convince politicians to pass the anti drunk-driving legislation.

"People in Capitol are scared of that legislation because it can take away some personal freedom," Bitter said. "For me, to lower the BAC to .08 only means to have less drunk drivers on the road."

The main concern of the opponents to that bill is that it would punishes only the social drinker and it would not decrease the rate of accidents involving drunk-drivers.

"If you consider the person that drinks 4 beers in an hour a social drinker, then this bill is against social drinking and I will be wrong," Bitter said.