Heights changes drunken driving ordinance

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — The city council voted unanimously to adopt changes to the city’s drunken driving ordinance on an emergency basis to keep it in line with state law. The readings came during the Sept. 10 city council meeting.

By adopting the ordinance on an emergency basis the council was able to enact the changes after having both the first and second readings required by law given at the same time.

The state law renewing the allowable blood alcohol content of 0.08 for five more years goes into effect Oct. 1 and the city had to adjust its ordinance before that deadline.

Corporation Counsel Gary Miotke wrote the new ordinance and told the council it was imperative that the changes “be adopted and published as soon as possible to ensure that the enforcement of drunk driving ordinances” would not be hindered in any way.

Miotke added that changing two sections of the city code regarding drunken driving will allow the city to “mirror” state law.

The first section of the new city ordinance prohibits operating while intoxicated, operating while visibly impaired, allowing another to operate a vehicle while intoxicated or visibly impaired, being a person less than 21 years of age and operating with any bodily alcohol content and operating with any amount of certain controlled substances in the body.

The second section pertains to individuals who operate commercial vehicles while intoxicated or with an unlawful blood alcohol level.

Miotke said the current maximum allowable blood alcohol content level of 0.08 grams was put into place in 2008 and was to be law for five years before reverting back to the old level of 0.10 grams on October 1.

That changed on May 9.

“In May of this year, the state changed the corresponding provisions under state law,” Miotke said. “The corresponding provisions under state law now provide that the standard level of bodily alcohol content for operating while intoxicated is to remain 0.08 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine until October 1, 2018.”

He added that the level is now expected to revert back to 0.10 grams on Oct. 1, 2018.

Because the city ordinance was written to accommodate the state reverting back to the 0.10 grams level on Oct. 1 of this year, the code had to be changed to extend the current 0.08 grams level until 2018.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)