Moving to a Legal Blood-Alcohol Limit of .05

The current legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit for driving in the United States is .08, but that could be changing. In just the first couple months of 2017, three states—Utah, Washington, and Hawaii—attempted to lower the legal limit from .08 to .05. Hawaii and Washington were unsuccessful, but Utah’s .05 legislation already passed both chambers of Congress and will be signed by the governor. You can read op-eds regarding Utah’s .05 legislation in the Salt Lake Tribune here and in Deseret News here. It’s just a matter of time before other states try to attempt the same feat.

The National Transportation Safety Board, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, and other organizations all support lowering the legal limit to .05. The NTSB has even been actively engaged in testimony and media campaigns in the states that have tried to pass .05 legislation. But will lowering the legal limit actually reduce traffic fatalities?

A 120-pound woman can reach a .05 limit with little more than a single drink. Instead of deterring the most dangerous heavily intoxicated drivers on the road, a .05 legal limit discourages responsible drinkers from having a single drink with dinner and, in the end, criminalizes what is perfectly responsible behavior.

The American Beverage Institute has ran multiple full-page ads in USA Today, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News to combat Utah’s .05 legislation. The ads are below: