One Drink = Drunk Driving

In a “zero tolerance” policy, police in Washington, DC have been arresting drivers with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings as low as 0.00 in breath tests if they admitted to having consumed a single drink before driving.

Such drivers are offered a clean record if they pay a “counseling fee” of $400. Innocent drivers who refuse to pay the fine have their driver licenses suspended and are given an arrest record. This has harmed many drivers who need an arrest-free record to maintain security clearances and their jobs.

Negative national press coverage of the practice has embarrassed some city council members. Therefore, the council has voted to increase the BAC at which a person can be presumed guilty of drunk driving from 0.00 to .05.

Mayor Anthony Williams (D) defended the city’s zero tolerance practices and may veto the measure.


  • D.C. council votes to ease no-tolerance DUI law. Washington Post, October 19, 2005.

Filed Under: Drinking and Driving