The Effect of Utah’s Lower Drunk Driving Limit Law

Utah Now Has the Toughest Drunk Driving Laws in the Nation

On December 30, 2018, Utah’s legal drinking and driving limit was reduced from .08% to .05%.  This means that you are presumed impaired and therefore under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of 0.05 percent.  The law met resistance from the beginning and was delayed until the end of 2018, but it is now law and affecting drivers across the state.  The new lower drinking limit means that people could be considered impaired after two or three drinks.

Many toxicologists, across the country, have argued that impairment occurs for many people way before they hit a BAC of .08 percent.  In many cases, commercial drivers are deemed over the legal limit if they have a BAC of 0.04 percent or more.  No matter what state you are in, driving under the influence is a serious offense that can carry a jail sentence, license suspension, stiff fines and more.

The National Transportation Safety Board has argued for years that a .05% BAC law could save hundreds of lives.  Lowering the legal limit has proven to reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities.  According to the NTSB’s .05 BAC Safety Briefing Facts issued in March 2019, when the legal limit was reduced from 0.10 to 0.08 there was a 10.4% reduction in alcohol-related crash deaths.

The effort to reduce drunk driving has been in effect for decades.  Utah was one of the first states to reduce the drinking and driving limit from 0.10 to 0.08 and is now leading the pack on the move to 0.05 percent.  Given the support from national groups like the NTSB, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the National Safety Council, more states are likely to follow.