As driving under the influence of alcohol has become a bigger problem across the United States in recent years, many states have looked for various ways to solve the problem. In Utah, that solution has been to enact the strictest DUI law in the nation. Unlike the other 49 states and the District of Columbia that have a .08 BAC that constitutes being considered legally drunk, Utah has now enacted a standard of .05, which has generated tremendous controversy.
Will Other States Follow Utah’s Lead?
While Utah has been the first state to enact this strict measure, other states have considered similar measures, including:
While legislation in these states has failed to garner much support, many legal experts believe additional measures will be brought forth in 2019.
Is the Lower Limit Overkill?
For many who oppose the .05 level, they believe the lower limit is overkill, and will in fact lead to people being arrested for DUI who are otherwise capable of driving without putting themselves and others at risk. In fact, according to statistics from the American Beverage Institute, research studies show a 120-pound woman can achieve a .05 BAC by having only one drink, while a 160-pound man can do the same with only two drinks.
While some consider the law overkill, others believe it is a step in the right direction. According to statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board, 10,874 people were killed in 2017 due to alcohol-impaired drivers, a figure which represented nearly one-third of all vehicle fatalities that year. In fact, members of the nonprofit road safety group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety cite research showing that at .05, drivers have reduced coordination, difficulty steering, and slower responses to emergency situations.
Law Enforcement Training
With debate on the subject being very heated, many wonder if law enforcement officers will have the proper training to enforce the stricter ban. Along with this, many opponents of the stricter DUI law believe the end result will be people who are essentially obeying the law being pulled over and arrested for DUI when they are still capable of safely operating a motor vehicle. If this deluge happens as they expect, courts will be overwhelmed with DUI cases, prompting more and more people to seek the services of a DUI attorney to help them navigate the complexities of a DUI case.
Will Drinking Habits Change?
For many restaurants and other establishments that rely on alcohol sales, owners believe that most people will not change their drinking habits. However, the Salt Lake Restaurant Association does believe there will be a large loss of alcohol revenue, which could lead to some businesses closing their doors.
Since this new law is so controversial, there will no doubt be many unsuspecting drivers being charged with DUI. If you find yourself facing this situation, contact an experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected throughout the complex process.