Moving to a Legal Blood-Alcohol Limit of .05
Utah has become the first state in the nation to lower the blood-alcohol arrest level from .08 to .05–criminalizing what is considered responsible and safe behavior anywhere else in the country. You can read op-eds regarding Utah’s move to .05 in the Salt Lake Tribune here and in Deseret News here. Although Utah has been the only state to pull the trigger, other states–such as Washington and Hawaii–had similar proposed bills that were active in the previous legislative term. So it’s just a matter of time before other states attempt to follow in Utah’s misguided footsteps.
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 ran multiple full-page ads in USA Today, the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, and the Idaho Statesman in conjunction with Utah’s move to .05. The ads are below: