If you are planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Utah, you’ll want to carefully consider your transportation plans to ensure you have a designated driver. Starting on December 30, just in time for one of the biggest drinking nights of the year, Utah will lower its blood alcohol concentration limit to .05, making it the strictest DUI (Driving Under the Influence) law in the country.
Utah authorities report an average of 30 DUI arrests every day in the state, and they hope this new law will help set a nationwide standard to lower the BAC limit to .05.
“Despite decades of public campaigns and other efforts to discourage driving after drinking, survey and observational data show that many people continue to do so,” the Utah Department of Public Safety said in a statement on the new law. More than 54,000 people have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol over the last five years.
In addition to lowering the BAC limit, this new law also states that anyone “who operates a motor vehicle in a negligent manner causing the death of another” and has a “blood alcohol concentration of .05 grams or greater” will have committed a criminal homicide — a felony conviction.
Lawmakers are hopeful that lowering the BAC limit from .08 to .05 will help reduce fatal alcohol-related crashes. Even though drunk-driving fatalities in the United States have decreased by a third over the past 30 years, 29 people still die every day from alcohol-related crashes.
A study conducted by the University of Chicago and Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation found that reducing the limit could possibly save 1,790 lives per year if every state adopted a .05 BAC limit. Proponents of the law hope other states assess their BAC limits to help reduce the amount of drunk-driving arrests and fatalities.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that a .05 BAC level is equal to about three alcoholic drinks for an average sized man. At this level, drivers usually experience a reduced ability to track moving objects, a slower response time, reduced coordination and difficulty steering. A .08 BAC level equals about four drinks for the same person.
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI and are required to install an ignition interlock device, call Intoxalock at (833) 623-0200 for installation locations near you. Our customer service representatives can answer all your questions and help you understand your ignition interlock requirements.