Local motorists are facing a tougher restriction when it comes to DUI law in the state of Utah.
Starting December 30th, , Utah drivers are required to abide to the new blood alcohol content (BAC) limit, which has been reduced to 0.05.
As local authorities strive for safer roads and awareness, this new law has been regarded as the strictest drunk-driving regulation ever passed in the nation.
The new DUI law also stipulates that any person who drives negligently causing a fatal accident and has a BAC of .05 grams or greater will be charged for criminal homicide.
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By implementing the new regulation, Utah will be able to remediate past DUI offenses, in which more than 54.400 arrests took place over the course of the last five years.
Utah’s Department of Public Safety commented:
Despite decades of public campaigns and other efforts to discourage driving after drinking, survey and observational data show many people continue to do so.
Making roads safer is not an easy task and many attempts have been presented by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to reduce the 0.08 limit for non-commercial drivers over the age of 21 for years.
Bella Dinh-Zarr, a NTSB member, commented:
We’ve recommended a 0.05 (blood alcohol content) to states since 2013, and we are happy that Utah is the first to actually complete this recommendation. We think it will be a great incentive for other states and an encouragement to follow suit.
Bella argued that nearly 100 countries have already experience a change in the reduction of BAC, even though people in other countries drink as much alcohol as Americans do.
In a positive note, DUI fatalities in the US have already decreased by a third in the last 30 years.
Yet the National Highway Safety Administration found that approx. 29 people still die from DUI-related accidents.
The NHSA also reported that 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-impaired accidents, resulting in 28% of all motor vehicle accidents.
The discussion against drunk-driving limits never ends
Earlier this year, Sarah Longwell, Managing Director at the American Beverage Institute, confronted the new law by stating that a .05 BAC does not leave drivers “meaningfully impaired.”
Making such a threshold the legal standard will only distract law enforcement from the most dangerous high-BAC offenders on the road.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added that a .05 BAC is equal to approx. three alcoholic drinks for the average size of a person.
By reaching that level, the CDC argues that drivers experience a dangerous reduction in their ability to coordinate, steer, track moving objects, and react to risky driving situations.
Whereas at .08, which is about four alcoholic drinks in, driver’s focus, memory, speed control, judgement, perception, and ability to process visual objects while on the road are all negatively affected.
Dihn-Zarr added that the new DUI law will make people feel more concerned about impaired driving, which is an important step to reduce fatalities today.
She also mentioned:
This is a broad deterrent, it stops all people from all levels of drinking from getting behind the wheel.
It’s an encouragement for making the right decision so they don’t hurt themselves or someone else.”
At the same time, the NTSB representative invites other states to replicate the new change so as to tackle alcoholic-related crashes.
Her argument is that 1,500 lives could potentially be saved each year once this new law takes effect across the nation.