Many erroneously believe that the .05% BAC for DUI's in Utah is already in effect. That's because the Utah legislature passed the law changing the BAC from .08% to .05% for a presumptive DUI way back in 2017. If the legislature passed the law, and it is a good idea, some wonder why Utah would wait almost two years to put the law into effect.
The Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) has begun an education campaign promoting the upcoming change. That campaign advises that between 2006 and 2015 there were 23 fatal crashes in Utah involving a BAC between a .05 and a.07, thus justifying the downward departure from the .08% BAC national standard. DPS also reminds us that in the 1990's Utah was the first in the nation to lower the BAC presumptive DUI from the national norm of .10% to a .08% BAC, and Utah is leading the charge again.
Utah is not the first in the world to change the DUI presumptive level to a .05%. European nations beat Utah to that honor, and to their credit, they saw an 8-12% reduction in DUI related fatalities after the change. A similar reduction was seen in the United States when the presumptive DUI level was reduced from .10% BAC to .08% BAC.
The bottom line is that a person who drinks alcohol is going to have to drink a lot less if they want to legally drive. DPS's suggestion is that if you drink, don't drive, though that is not the law . . . yet. Because everyone's metabolism is different, getting to a .05% BAC could result from one to four alcoholic beverages within a two hour period. A person may not even be feeling the effects of the alcohol and still be at a .05%.
This upcoming New Years Eve, if you drink, please do so responsibly. Have a sober designated driver, or call a Lyft, Uber, or taxi when are done celebrating. If you do decide to drive after drinking, you will likely be doing so in violation of Utah's new law. Law enforcement will be out in force that night hosting their own celebration of the new law that makes their jobs easier. If you encounter one of them, be polite, do the best you can in the field sobriety tests, and call Ed Jones,an expert DUI lawyer as soon as possible. www.DUIut.com or www.EdJonesLaw.com.