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Cooper: GOP’s underage DUI law could endanger road funding

By ERIK SCHELZIGAugust 19, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper is criticizing Tennessee Republicans for enacting a drunken driving bill that could lead the state to lose $60 million in highway funding.

Under the new law that took effect on July 1, allowable blood alcohol content for 18- to 20-year-olds was raised from 0.02 percent to 0.08 percent. But it also increased the penalties to the same level as those faced by adult drivers convicted of drunken driving.

State Rep. William Lamberth, a former Sumner County prosecutor and the bill’s main sponsor, says the law is aimed at cracking down on drunken driving among young adults. It keeps the 0.02 percent standards for drivers through age 17.

Lamberth says lawmakers were not warned that the change could run afoul of the federal government.

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