Utah Lowers DUI Limit To 0.05 — Could Other States Follow Suit?
There were nearly 10,500 deaths on the road in 2016 that were related to at least one person drinking too much alcohol before deciding to get behind the wheel. That amounts to 14 out of every 50 traffic-related deaths across the United States.
The human costs of drunk driving are, sadly, much too high. But so, too, are the economic costs of drinking under the influence — accidents related to drunk driving amounted to more than $44 billion that year alone, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control.
These issues and others like them are what drove the state of Utah to adopt new strict standards for driving under the influence, often abbreviated to DUI. The new limits in Utah are being lowered to a blood alcohol content rating of 0.05, three hundredths lower than what was previously instituted in the state and what the rest of the nation implements for their standards.
Could other states follow suit? Utah did, after all, set the trend for the 0.08 DUI limit, instituting that number in 1983, according to a report from National Public Radio. It took two decades for the rest of the country to copy it, but eventually, every state in the nation did adopt that rate.
Utah to implement the nation’s strictest DUI limit, first state to go to .05 https://t.co/0s43yw3Yam
— Wilderness Wanderer – Crystal Muzik (@bewildandbefree) December 23, 2018
Some are skeptical that a lower rate could come about, with some citing circumstances related to this new law’s start as atypical of what could happen elsewhere. Many have accused the new law’s original sponsor, Utah State Rep. Norm Thurston, a Republican, of using his personal religious beliefs as a basis for the bill he had proposed. Thurston is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which pushes a minimal amount of alcoholic drinking among its members.
Thurston has dismissed those charges and points to the fact that the National Transportation Safety Board backs the state’s new regulations — which they originally pushed for in 2013, according to a report by Business Insider.
So for Utah residents gearing up for New Year’s Eve festivities next week (the new law goes into action the day before), what does a 0.05 blood alcohol content level look like? Every person is different, but based on most findings, for a man who weighs about 180 pounds, it’s about two to three drinks per hour before things start to get into questionable territory. For women of the same weight, it’s also about two drinks before they’re in the “red zone” of being legally drunk.
Prior to the new law being implemented, men at 180 pounds could drink up to four drinks per hour while women at that weight could drink up to three drinks per hour.