California drivers who are traveling east for the holidays should be aware that on the day before New Year’s Eve, Utah will drop its blood alcohol content limit from .08 percent to .05 percent, giving it the lowest drunk driving limit in the nation. The move comes at the recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board, and other states, including California, could eventually follow suit.
A new survey conducted by the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute found that 55 percent of Americans would like to see the legal blood alcohol level reduced to .05 across the country. In fact, 46 percent support lowering the legal limit all the way down to .00 percent. Currently, all states have a standard limit of .08. On Dec. 30, Utah will become the only state with a lower limit.
Each day, approximately 29 motorists die in alcohol-related car accidents on U.S. roads. Those crashes cost Americans over $44 billion every year. According to the NTSB, a nationwide blood alcohol limit of .05 could save around 1,800 lives each year. This is because studies show that drivers with a blood alcohol content level between .05 and .79 are seven times more likely to get into a fatal crash than drivers who are completely sober.
Individuals arrested on DUI charges could face harsh consequences if they are convicted. Typical sentences involve jail time, expensive fines and the suspension of driving privileges, which could make it difficult to get to and from work. An attorney familiar with drunk driving cases may be able to represent a defendant in court and work to obtain a better outcome. For example, by challenging the results of a blood alcohol test, it may be possible to get the charges dismissed. Another possibility is to try negotiating a plea deal that reduces the charges.
Source: Governing, “How Drunk Is Too Drunk to Drive?,” Jean Raphael, Oct. 23, 2018