Utah all set to become first US state to lower DUI blood alcohol content limit to 0.05
March 22, 2017 0 Comments
Driving under influence (DUI) is treated as a serious offense, as it jeopardizes the person behind the wheel as well as the others on the street. In the wake of the perils of drunk driving, the state of Utah is considering a bill to lower the blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers from the existing 0.08 to 0.05.
The bill appears to be a welcome change, as in many cases even the widely acceptable limit of 0.08 BAC also seems to be too much. However, despite actually being a case of DUI, the drivers get away easily because they had the permissible limit of alcohol in their systems.
An inebriated state of mind can be dangerous, more so if one is powering through inside a mean machine and needs to take quick decisions. One does not realize that a harmless drink could well turn out to be dangerous for someone else.
Republican representative Norm Thurston, the chief sponsor of the house bill (HB) 155, justified its introduction stating 85 percent of the world’s population lives in countries that have a BAC limit of 0.05. These include almost all of Canada, except for Quebec, almost the entire Asia, South America, with the exception of Peru and Venezuela, most of Africa, Europe and Australia.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), people who had a BAC of 0.08 showed substantial signs of impairment. In fact, people who had a BAC of even 0.05, struggled with a simulated driving test. Researchers looked at more than a hundred studies and found that people under influence showed changes in eye movement, reaction time and visual perception.
Bella Dinh-Zarr, the Vice Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, mentioned that the advancement of the bill has the potential to save lives and act as a deterrent for people who drive drunk.
Every day, 28 people die in America because of vehicle accidents that involve DUI. Broadly, this means that every 53 minutes, a person dies because of DUI, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2014, 9,967 people had died because of DUI. Taking these figures into consideration, Dinh-Zarr looked into all the different interventions and found that lowering the BAC to 0.05 would be most effective in saving lives.
Conglomerates have divided opinions for the new decision, observing that such a law could potentially hurt tourism and the liquor industry.
Every year, hundreds of people become victims of reckless driving, and in most cases, the driver is either inebriated or intoxicated, accounting for 31 percent or almost one-third of all traffic related deaths in the U.S. Such a law could very well act as a deterrent putting the fear of prison time inside an individual’s head. The Utah State Legislature has already passed the bill and it should take effect on Dec. 30, 2018. Utah thus becomes the first state in the U.S. to impose a BAC limit of 0.05.
Alcohol is dangerous, seek help
Alcohol often affects one’s personal as well as professional life. Excessive intake of alcohol may result in one becoming a social pariah. Keeping that in mind, laws like this can come in handy at curbing irresponsible behavior on the road, and prospectively act as a major life saver.
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