Practical Effect of Lowering BAC?

A Word About Utah’s Impending Change in Legal Blood Alcohol Content for Drunk Driving from 0.08% to 0.05%

By Ken K. Gourdin

A recent letter to the editor of Salt Lake City’s Deseret News excoriates Utah’s lawmakers for recently passing a measure lowering the state’s legal blood alcohol content limit for drunk driving from 0.08% to 0.05%. Utah is the first state in the nation to do so.

See the letter here (this and any other links last accessed July 3, 2017):

I responded:

Laying aside, for just a moment, all of the handwringing about what a 0.05 legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit will do to Utah’s tourism industry, its image, and so forth, I’m not convinced that it will have all that great of a practical effect in terms of deterring drunk driving. I would be interested in knowing what percentage of people pulled over for Driving Under the Influence in Utah test at a level below .08. My hunch is that it’s hard enough to catch people at .08, let alone below.

While other countries may have set their legal BAC limits below .08, we’re talking about countries with different legal systems, different legal procedures, different standards of proof, different protections for the accused, and so on, so even if law enforcement in those countries catches a good number of drivers below .08, I’m not sure how well their experience will translate to the United States and to Utah.


About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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