An update on Utah DWI Law has adopted. – The Utah State Legislature has recently passed a DWI bill that lowers the state’s legal blood alcohol limit from .08% to .05%. The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Gary Herbert, making Utah the first state in the nation to adopt a .05% blood alcohol level as the threshold. Currently, all 50 states in the nation have the same legal threshold, .08%. The new legislation comes as a result of 2013 National Traffic Safety Board recommendations and an increase in drunk driving fatalities in Utah in recent years. While no other state in our country has such a low legal definition of intoxication, several European countries have already adopted the .05% limit, including Austria, France and Germany. Remarkably, Poland has set a .02% limit for legal driving in their country!!
MADD do not support the new Proposal
From a practical standpoint, a .05% blood alcohol level is typically obtained by a 160 lb. man consuming three drinks in one hour. The .05% limit can easily be reached by smaller men and women with even fewer drinks. However, this new proposal in Utah does not have the support of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). MADD has stated that they believe the current .08% limit is reasonable and they support the use of ignition interlock devices in vehicles to stop drunk driving as a more viable option.
The new Utah DWI Law Could Cause Other States to Follow Suit
If a .05% limit is enacted into a DWI law in Utah, it may result in minute break a ripple effect across the nation. When other states began lowering their legal limits from .10% to.08% in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the movement gained quick momentum and was soon adopted by the federal Department of Transportation. The Department of Transportation then made individual states ability to receive federal highway funding contingent on lowering their state limits to .08%. It remains to be seen if a similar movement will occur once Utah pushes the first domino and lowers their definition of drunk driving to .05%.
If You Intend to Drive, Don’t Drink
Currently in New York .05% BAC is proof that the person is neither impaired or intoxicated. Many people think the legal limit in New York is .08%, however, that is only the threshold for the misdemeanor crime of driving while intoxicated. Drivers who have a BAC of .06% or .07% may find themselves charged with the violation of DWAI. The clear message from New York’s statutes and this new proposed Utah DWI Law has to adopt is that if your plan on driving don’t plan on drinking.