On Dec. 30 (Utah, usa) will the implementation of the strictest DUI laws in the nation, the lowering of the bac limit to .05 .08.
Utah is set to the implementation of the strictest DUI law in the nation – just in time for the New Year.
The new law, which becomes effective on Dec. 30, lowers the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to .05 from .08 – the national limit that is imposed by former President Bill Clinton.
DUI penalties may vary depending on the state. Utah is the new law says that anyone who “operates a motor vehicle in a negligent manner causing the death of another” will have committed a criminal homicide, that is a crime.
The state legislature approved the amendment in 2017 before it was signed into law by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert.
“That is the mandate for the enforcement of the law: You see someone driving impaired, you pull them over,” Herbert said earlier this year. “We’re not saying that people can’t drink. Of course you can drink, and you can drink until your eyes bug out if you want. We’re just saying not drinking and driving.”
A BAC of .05 percent usually results in about three alcoholic drinks for a 160 pound man, according to the CDC. Effects can include decreased alertness, exaggerated behavior, and a “good feeling,” the CDC said. As for driving, people with a .05 percent BAC may have impaired coordination, or problems with the steering.
The Cleveland Clinic has a BAC calculator for people to input their weight and the amount of alcohol ingested.
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Already in Utah, has seen a rise in the people appeal to the ride-share programs, according to the Highway Patrol Lt.-Col. Mark Zesiger. He told The Salt Lake Tribune, many people are not aware of the law had a delayed implementation, and thought that it went into effect immediately after the state legislature approved.
“Our DUI team certainly saw immediately after the law came an increase in the number of people who have made use of ride-share programs,” Zesiger said. “That’s a good thing; we are that.”
Law enforcement officials are instructed to “make arrests on the basis of the observed impairments” instead of a “predetermined BAC level,” according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.
Zesiger said that all officers are trained in the field sobriety “to make sure … they do meet the standards.”
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According to the state, the public safety department, 54,402 arrests were made in the past five years for DUI-violations – an average of 29.8 arrests per day.
Almost 10,500 people died in 2016 of alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“If we look at the accidents with a fatal outcome, if you are between the .05 and .79 [BAC], you are seven times more likely to be in a fatal crash,” Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr, vice-chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board has said.
But the American Beverage Institute is not on board with the new law, calling it an “attack on the restaurant and hospitality industry.”
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“I have no doubt that the proponents of .05 laws are well-intentioned, but good intentions do not always a good yield of public order,” spokesperson Jackson Shedelbower said in a statement.
“Instead of focusing on moderate and responsible drinkers, if this .05 law, limited road safety resources should be focused on the high-BAC and repeat drunk driving offenders who are responsible for the vast majority of alcohol-related road deaths,” he continued. “That way, the roads actually become safer and those who enjoy a drink or two over dinner for the drive are not labeled criminals.”
Shedelbower said it is understandable that Utah is the first state to implement a .05 BAC law because “many Utahns completely abstain from alcohol for religious reasons, and therefore a full understanding of the effects.” Utah has heavily regulate alcohol, of what can be brought in the state of the amount of alcohol content can be found in beer.
While Utah is the first state to implement such a law, it is not the only one to consider. Earlier this year, Delaware lawmakers to pass a bill for the lowering of the threshold. Hawaii and Washington, also considered such measures.