Utah prepares to set the strictest DUI rules in the country by dropping the blood alcohol limit to .05 – the equivalent of roughly three beers for the average American

Sunday, December 16, 2018
By Paul Martin

The law originally passed in March 2017 will go into effect on December 30
It defines driving under the influence as having a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or greater – a significant plunge from the national standard of .08
The average American adult would reach that level after roughly three drinks
The same law also says anyone found to be operating a vehicle with a BAC of .05 or higher will be charged with ‘automobile homicide’

By MEGAN SHEETS
DAILYMAIL.COM
16 December 2018

Utah is preparing to implement the strictest drunk driving regulations in the country by dropping the state’s blood-alcohol limit from the national standard of .08 to .05.

The law, passed by Gov Gary Herbert in March 2017 and set to go into effect on December 30, defines driving under the influence as having a ‘blood or breath alcohol concentration of .05 grams or greater.’

The average American adult would reach that level after roughly three drinks in an hour, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the same law, anyone found to be operating a vehicle with a BAC of .05 or higher will also be charged with ‘automobile homicide’ – a third-degree felony.

Utah has long been known for its restrictions on alcohol, having imposed limits on how strong beer can be and prohibitions against bringing alcohol in from other states.

However, state officials say driving under the influence has been a persistent problem.

In lowering the BAC limit, Utah will become the first and only state to adhere to the National Transportation Safety Board’s most recent recommendations that the limit be set at .05.

The NTSB stated in a 2013 report that ‘more than 100 countries have already established per se BAC limits at or below 0.05.’

The report cited several international studies, including one that found the risk of being involved in a fatal crash was as much as 17 times higher between BACs of .05 and .079.

Another from Australia found that fatal crash risk dropped 18 percent after limits were lowered.

Nearly 11,000 people died from crashes involving drivers with BACs about .08 in 2017, the lowest number of deaths since the National Highway Transportation Security Administration first started reporting alcohol data in 1982.

According to CDC estimates, a 160-pound man would reach a BAC of .05 after having about three drinks in an hour.

A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or a shot of liquor.

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