Nevada Gets Grant As Reward For Tougher DUI Law

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The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety has been awarded a $734,673 federal grant as a reward for the Legislature's approval of a law toughening drunken driving laws.

Nevada received the funds for lowering the legal threshold for drunken driving to an 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content. Nevada's previous standard was 0.10 percent.

In passing the law, numerous legislators complained that they were forced to make the change because the federal government otherwise would withhold more than $20 million in highway construction funds over the next few years.

Assemblyman Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, however, said the lower standard would reduce drunken driving deaths. Manendo for years had campaigned to reduce the threshold.

"I would like to thank our legislators because had they not taken action, Nevada would have probably lost about $4 million in similar grants," Gov. Kenny Guinn said.

About 60 percent of the grant will go to local programs that focus on reducing drunken driving, according to Chuck Abbot, chief of the Office of Traffic Safety. The remaining money will be spent on educating the public on the new law and assessing programs to reduce drunken driving.