Utah Implements Lowest BAC in Nation…Again

Utah’s local government has taken measures to fight the problem of drunk driving in this new year. The legal limit for drinking and driving in the state is now officially 0.05 percent. This went into effect on Sunday, December 30, 2018, ensuring that New Year’s Eve revelers would have to keep their celebrations in check if they want to enjoy a drink or two.

Purpose of the New Law

Lawmakers in Utah had two particular goals with the new limit – to make the roads safer for everyone and to encourage people to avoid getting behind the wheel if they have been drinking. The state approved the legislation in 2017, and the measure was signed by Governor Gary Herbert, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches its members to abstain from consuming alcohol.

The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of a person can depend on many factors, including their body type, weight, how much they have drunk and whether they have eaten. For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if a woman who weighs only 120 pounds consumes a single alcoholic beverage, her BAC could easily be higher than the new legal limit of 0.05.

Are There Drinking Worries?

Those in the hospitality industry worry that other states will mimic Utah and implement the 0.05 legal limit. Utah was the first state to go from a 0.1 to 0.08 percent BAC limit in 1983. Other places in the country quickly followed suit, so it isn’t too far-fetched to assume that this law will influence other local governments. A few states, including Delaware, Hawaii, New York, and Washington, have already proposed the idea of lowering their legal DUI limit over the last few years, although those proposals haven’t seen any traction as of yet.

A spokesman from the American Beverage Institute urges other states not to follow in Utah’s footsteps blindly. The organization even went so far as to take out ads in Utah newspapers that stated, “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation.

To Drink or Not to Drink?

Bella Dinh-Zarr, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, believes these fears are blown out of proportion. She said the restaurant industry should be all for the new law because it ensures that their customers stay alive to continue drinking at their establishments.

These days, with Uber and other ridesharing services being so popular, many people aren’t even getting into their vehicles. As a result, DUI arrests have decreased by over half in the past seven years in Utah, according to state statistics. That’s in spite of a steadily growing population.

Will Florida Adopt a 0.05% BAC?

Currently, Florida and the rest of the country sets a legal limit of 0.08% BAC. Those who test at or above 0.08% – or who display signs of intoxication — may be arrested for DUI anywhere in the state. Additionally, lower BAC limits apply for underage and commercial drivers: 0.02% and 0.04%, respectively. There is currently no indication that Florida will follow Utah’s lead.

Orlando DUI Lawyers Challenge BAC Results

The Orlando DUI lawyers at the Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience fighting DUI charges throughout Central Florida. The tests used to capture a person’s BAC are highly flawed and may lead to incorrect results. Discuss your charges with an attorney as soon as possible. Seek a free consultation by calling (407) 228-3838 or filling out our contact form.