Strict law enforcement is certainly one way to try and tackle America’s addiction issues. And over in Utah, legislators haven take a particularly hard stance against intoxication behind the wheel. Starting in the new year, anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.05 of above will be arrested for a DUI.
That particular level happens to be the lowest in the country. When fleshing it out a little further; it basically means if you’ve consumed more than three drinks within an hour, you could be deemed driving over the limit. Utah lawmakers also stated that if you have a 0.05 level and are responsible for an accident that takes the life of another person, you will be charged with a criminal homicide.
That state has certainly seen its share of DUI arrests this decade. Over the past five years, 54,000 drivers have gone to jail because of drinking behind the wheel. In fact, that is part of this reason this new law has been enacted.
“Despite decades of public campaigns and other efforts to discourage driving after drinking, survey and observational data show many people continue to do so,” National Transportation Safety Board rep Bella Dinh-Zarr told CNN. “We’ve recommended a 0.05 (blood alcohol content) to states since 2013, and we are happy that Utah is the first to actually complete this recommendation. We think it will be a great incentive for other states and an encouragement to follow suit.”
Though those stats are certainly alarming, CNN is reporting that deaths related to drunk driving have significantly decreased over the past three decades. In fact, the total annual count is about a third less than it was back in the 1980’s. But, of course, all of these tragedies are completely preventable and the sad fact remains that over 10,000 people lost their lives to DUI accidents in the past year.
When it comes to DUI blood alcohol levels in our home state of California, the limit remains at 0.08. That accounts for roughly four drinks each hour for an average sized person. There is still no word on whether our own legislators are pushing for any change in that limit, but we would certainly welcome it.
Using any substance before operating a vehicle is extremely dangerous. Not only for the innocent people on the road, but for the drivers themselves. If you or anyone you know is abusing substances and getting behind the wheel, please reach out before it’s too late.