AUSTIN, Texas. Utah will become the first state in the U.S. to lower its legal BAC limit to 0.05. Starting on December 30, anyone driving in Utah will need to think twice about how much they’ve had to drink before getting behind the wheel. The law passes just in time for New Year’s Eve, a time of year when there are known to be more drunk drivers on the road. According to NPR, the new law significantly lowers how much a person can have to drink before they exceed the legal thresholds. Prior to the changed limit, the average 180-pound male could drink as many as four alcoholic beverages and still be under the legal limit. With the BAC at 0.05, that amount can be as low as two drinks, and it might be even lower for many women. According to QZ, a 100-pound woman who consumes just one drink would be over Utah’s legal limit starting on December 30.
The changed law is a sober reminder to make sure that you have sound transportation plans in place if you plan to be drinking on New Year’s Eve. While the legal drunk driving limits won’t be changing in Texas, there are many good reasons to consider not driving after any kind of drinking.
For one, research indicates that individuals with a BAC of 0.05 are impaired drivers. The journal Addiction, notes that the National Transportation Safety Administration recommends that all states lower their legal BAC to 0.05. It may only be a matter of time before all states go the way of Texas. This means that Utah might be moving in the right direction when it comes to protecting all drivers from the dangers of drunk driving. (In fact, Utah was the first state to lower its BAC to 0.08 when all the other states set the legal limit at 0.10.) Furthermore, any kind of drunk driving can hurt you if you get in an accident, whether you exceed the legal limit or not. If you hurt another person in a crash or if you damage another vehicle, drinking can impact the percentage of negligence you might be responsible for after a crash.
According to QZ, 10,500 people were killed in alcohol-related deaths. Any steps that can prevent more people from dying due to drunk driving should be seen as welcome. However, the alcohol industry and some tourism groups are not happy about the new law in Utah, claiming that it targets moderate drinkers. The vast majority of drunk driving related deaths occur when drivers are way above the 0.08 limit.
That said, if you plan to drive on New Year’s Eve, wherever you might be celebrating, consider taking a rideshare or cab home. Or, get a designated driver. Or use public transportation. Stay safe as you ring in the new year.
The Robson Law Firm are personal injury lawyers in Austin, Texas who wish everyone a happy new year. Stay safe over the holiday. If you have been in an accident, and have questions about your rights, reach out to our firm at https://robsonlawfirm.com/ to learn more.
Robson Law Firm
1114 Lost Creek Boulevard
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 345-8200