In Utah, .05 BAC Is 100% Real

Utah CHP now empowered to make a safer state UPDATE 5/17/17  As special interests pressure the Utah legislature to reconsider the bill, Utah lawmakers stand firm on the .05 BAC limit for DUI. Nonetheless, a June special session is scheduled to address the purported "consequences" of the bill. The bill is currently expected to go into effect on December 30, 2018. READ MORE about the challenges the 0.05 bill faces.

In a resounding victory for common sense and public health, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a bill that sets 0.05 as the BAC limit for driving under the influence, becoming the first state in the nation to dip below 0.08. Public health proponents—including Alcohol Justice and CAPA—have long maintained that 0.05 BAC limits are a necessary and common-sense measure to reign in dangerous drivers. Gov. Herbert clearly agrees. “We’re first in a lot of things,” he told Salt Lake City’s Fox outlet, “and one thing we can be first in is prioritizing highway safety.”

A 0.05 BAC is the standard across much of the developed world, providing a clear and easy to understand threshold for compromised driving. Although there is no safe alcohol level for drivers, under a 0.05 BAC law, if you have a second drink, you absolutely shouldn’t drive. This clarity dovetails well with Utah’s traditions of state control of alcohol, and sets a laudable precedent for the rest of the country. Best, it makes Big Alcohol antsy.

“Come for vacation, leave on probation!” read ads from the American Beverage Institute, arguing that the lower threshold would tamp down tourism. Gov. Herbert, however, dismissed those criticisms, noting that much of the world abides by 0.05. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine the kind of person who picks their travel destinations by how easy it is to drive drunk as an ideal tourist board target.

Utah may be the first, but it soon may be joined by Hawaii and Washington, who are also considering 0.05 BAC bills. Utah may even be beaten to the post; despite signing the bill, Gov. Herbert is considering delaying implementation of the new limit and leaving the door open for further negotiation. Alcohol Justice applauds Utah’s maverick move for public health and safety, and urges the Governor to keep the momentum going and stand strong behind his groundbreaking bill.

TAKE ACTION to tell your state leaders that POINT .05 SAVES LIVES. All states can benefit from following Utah's lead.

READ MORE about 0.05 Saves Lives.

READ MORE about bills nationwide lowering BAC limits.