New Lower DUI in Effect for Nevada

Drinking and Driving
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At midnight Monday, Nevada's new DUI limit goes into effect - it brings the state in line with federal standards.

It's a fairly small change but officers say it's going to make a big difference on our roads.

The new DUI threshold drops from .1 percent to .08 percent.

It would take a 150-pound man 4 drinks in an hour to exceed that limit and a 150-pound woman be considered legally drunk after 3 drinks in an hour.

And that varies based on the type of drink and a person's metabolism

Officers say the new limit will increase the number of people prosecuted for driving drunk and keep our streets safer.

Last May, drunk driver Stephen Scharosh drove into oncoming traffic, colliding head on with a mini-van. The crash killed five family members, four of them children. Investigators later found his blood alcohol level was .20.

The state's new lower limit won't stop accidents like that, but at Sparky's Sports Bar in Sparks patrons think the new law will make drinkers think twice before driving.

Says John Spiers of Reno: "It will be beneficial with all the debauchery they allow in this town."

"It's gonna hopefully lower the risk of drinking and driving," says Lacey Webster of Sparks.

Holly Atchison says her friend was killed while riding with a drunk driver - "Iit's a hard thing to live with," she says.

Police say the new limit will lead to more prosecution, making it more likely offenders will get the maximum end of the current penalties.

Sgt. Jerry Jones says it'll mean "more people in community service, more people in prison."

And the consequences are serious.

On just a first DUI arrest--drivers face up to $1,000 in fines, 6 months in jail and lose their licenses for 3 months.

Officers are hoping the new limit lowers the number of accidents on the state's roadways.

The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety reports in 2001 that 362 people were killed and more than 8,500 people were injured in crashes involving alcohol.

It will take some time to see if the new law lowers the accident rate.