Driving While Alcohol Impaired: A Preliminary Exploration of the Issues and Possible Approaches

Report No: 89-R29

Published in 1989

About the report:

Under current Virginia law, a driver who has been drinking but does not have a BAC of 0.10% will likely not be arrested even if his/her driving ability is visibly impaired. A "driving while alcohol impaired" (DWAI) statute would provide law enforcement personnel with a means of detraining those drivers whose ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired at BAC levels below 0.10%. This report reviews the scientific evidence of effects of alcohol on driving ability at BAC levels less than 0.10% It also examines existing DWAI statutes. Eight states and the District of Columbia presently have such statues, which can be grouped into four categories: DWAI as a lesser included offense of DUI, DWAI as a separate offense which applies only to drivers under 21, DWAI as a separate offense for all drivers, and lowering the presumptive BAC level for DUI. This report considers the advantages and disadvantages of each category, including the constitutionality of age-based classifications, and makes recommendations for further study.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Patricia Brady

Last updated: December 28, 2023

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: