By ELIZABETH FERGUSON
Capital News Service
LANSING — A new law lowering the maximum blood alcohol content allowed for snowmobile drivers is a step in the right direction for the Michigan Snowmobile Association. The association has discouraged snowmobilers from consuming alcohol since 1999, and by reducing the legal limit from .1 percent to .08 percent — the same as the motor vehicle limit — beginning March 1, legislators have brought more awareness to the issue, executive director Bill Manson said. Manson said many snowmobilers are already limiting their alcohol consumption or not drinking at all while snowmobiling. Since 2004, snowmobile crashes involving alcohol have dropped 65 percent to 17 crashes in 2012, according to the Michigan State Police Office of Highway Safety Planning. Overall snowmobile fatalities, including fatalities related to alcohol, have been decreasing over the past 10 years, according to Dan Moore, Eastern Upper Peninsula recreation specialist at the Department of Natural Resources (DNS).