The law passed back in March 2017 by Governor Gary Herbert. It will define driving under the influence as having a breath or blood alcohol concentration or BAC of only .05 grams or higher. This is lower than the nation’s standard limit of .08.
The new law will go into effect on December 20th. A person will also be charged with “automobile homicide” if another person is killed by them while operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .05 or greater. It is a third degree felony.
The law also affects gun owner’s rights.
By lowering the BAC limit, Utah will be the first and only state to enact the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommended lowering of BAC limits to .05.
NTSB stated in the report that “more than 100 countries have already established per se BAC limits at or below 0.05.”
Several studies were cited by NTSB which support the recommendation. One example found that risks of being involved in fatal vehicle crashes at BAC’s between .05 and .079 ranged from 3 to 17 times greater, depending on how old the driver was. Another example based out of Queensland, Australia found the risk of fatal crashes fell by 18 percent after limits were lowered.
There had been 10,874 people who died in 2017 because of crashes that involved a vehicle where the driver had a BAC of .08 or higher, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. This was the lowest number of deaths since the NHTSA initially began reporting alcohol data in 1982.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.