Utah Adopts the Toughest Drunk Driving Law in the US

Utah Adopts the Toughest Drunk Driving Law in the US

As reported by Autoblog, Utah Governor Gary Herbert has just signed a law that sets the strictest standard in the United States for drunk driving . As the bill was signed, the governor noted that the move will save lives across the state. This new law lowers the 0.08 legal blood alcohol limit, which is used in all other states, to 0.05. Moves to change the legal BAC limit to 0.05 recently failed in two other states, Washington and Hawaii.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses a 160-pound man for their baseline reference, so the difference for someone that size between 0.08 and 0.05 is roughly one drink. In theory, a man that size could also be considered legally too drunk to drive if he drank two beers too fast. Most men that size would need to have fewer than three drinks each hour on an empty stomach, and the same – or even less – could be true of a slightly smaller woman.
Naturally, there has been vocal opposition to this new law from many different groups. Representatives of the area’s ski and restaurant industries, for example, said the move will hurt tourism and reinforce the state’s Mormon reputation as being a place that is not welcoming to people who drink alcohol. An ad run by the American Beverage Institute included the tagline “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation.” Gun rights advocates also spoke out against the new limit as Utah has open-carry laws but the right is limited by whatever the BAC standard is for driving.
Governor Herbert did respond to some of the criticism, stating that the law is not attacking drinking itself but going after the public safety issue of impaired driving. He also produced research that suggested a 0.05 limit is where the legal cap should be, as signs of impairment can start showing in people with that BAC. He pointed out those places with alcohol-friendly reputations such as Australia, Russia, Italy and France all have a legal limit of 0.05 or less.
Drunk driving remains a troubling national issue
According to the CDC, people reported 110 million drinking and driving episodes in 2010 alone. Research from the centers shows that at a BAC of 0.02, people begin to have trouble doing two things at once and experience a loss of judgment. At a BAC of 0.05, the effects worsen and include trouble steering properly and a loss of coordination and the ability to track objects. When a person’s BAC hits 0.08 — the legal limit in most states, as a DUI lawyer Denver COtrusts can attest — he or she starts having trouble controlling the speed of a vehicle, reasoning and processing information.
Whether other states will be able to successfully lower the legal limit in the future is unknown, despite all the available data indicating that a limit of 0.08 may be too high.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident because of a drunk driver, speak to an auto attorney today to protect all your rights.
richardbantaThanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard Banta, P.C. for their insight into DUI and personal injury practice.

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