Utahns may have to have more designated drivers and watch their alcohol consumption much more carefully in the future. According to KSL.com and the LA Times, a Utah legislator will propose legislation to lower the legal blood alcohol level to a mere .05%.The First State to Propose Alcohol Limit Changes
If passed, Utah would be the very first state in the nation to lower the limit below .08%. In practical terms, this could mean that a couple of drinks could put many people over the legal limit and put them at risk of a DUI conviction if they are caught driving under the influence.Does Even One Drink Cause Impairment?
The sponsor of the proposal, Rep. Norman Thurston, R-Provo, the proposal’s sponsor, claimed his main intent was to save lives because of what he believes true “drunk driving” really is. “Impairment starts with the first drink, and we want to establish this state as one where you just simply do not drink and drive,” claims Thurston.
"We shouldn't have the public message that you're OK at .07. You're not OK at .07. You're not OK at .06. In reality, you're not even OK at .02. But in terms of practicality and what the law should be, .05 seems to be that area where it makes sense to have the cutoff."Disagreement Abounds: Even MADD is Not Sold
Thurston worked with the Utah Highway patrol to draft his controversial legislation. Although they and the NTSB recommends that states lower the limit to .05, there are many groups that disagree. Restaurant industry groups claim it is “criminalizing perfectly responsible behavior.” Even MADD, Mother Against Drunk Driving, surprisingly does not approve of the proposal, claiming that they prefer to concentrate on interlock devices that prevent drunk driving and keep the limit at .08.Alcohol is Not the Main Cause of Automobile Fatalities
Even though the state is more than 60% Mormon, who are not allowed to drink alcohol, sales of alcohol have actually increased in Utah recently. However, alcohol is not the major cause of fatal traffic accidents, as they account for only 13% of the total, according to the Utah Highway Safety Office. They claim that speed and not using seatbelts are the major cause of traffic deaths.
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