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Utah leads nation in reducing BAC for drunk driving

As many residents and visitors in Louisiana prepare to ring in the new year, the topic of drunk driving naturally comes up. Many people will choose to appoint a designated driver for the evening. Others may elect to use ride sharing apps, taxi cabs or public transportation to get to and from their celebrations. Still other people may simply stay home so as to avoid the potential drunk drivers that could be on the road. 

In Utah, there may be less worry about drunk drivers this year than in other states. That is because effective December 30, 2018, the state will enact a new, lower threshold for drunk driving. According to a report by Quartz, a driver in Utah will be able to be charged with a drunk driving offense if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent or greater. This is a full 0.03 percent lower than the current limit of 0.08 percent.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded in 1980 to help raise awareness about the dangers of driving after consuming alcohol. At that time, many state laws identified 0.10 percent as the legal limit for intoxication by a driver. In 1983, Utah led the way in lowering that limit to 0.08. This move was eventually replicated by all 49 other states including Louisiana.

In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all states update their drunk driving laws to identify 0.05 percent as the legal limit above which a driver may be prosecuted for impaired operation. To date, five states have considered this recently but Utah is the first to make the change. 



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