Last year Utah made headlines by introducing a bill that lowered DUI charges to include drivers who were driving with a .05 percent Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level or higher. This law goes into effect later this year.
This has re-ignited the argument around BAC and driving.
Proponents argue that lowering the average to .05 nationwide would save hundreds of lives, but those who disagree point out that only a fraction of driving fatalities occur between .01 and .08 percent.
Advocates for a lower limit point to Europe, where many countries have adopted a .05 BAC limit and have seen traffic deaths involving alcohol drop by almost 50 percent in a ten-year span.
However, the lowered limit was part of a much larger campaign that included increased public awareness around the issue of drunk driving, so the results can’t be separated.
Opponents argue that the majority of fatal drunk driving accidents involve people well over the .08 current limit.
One study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that 79 percent of fatalities nationwide involved a person (either a driver or a passenger) with a BAC of .08 or higher.
With consequences starting at .05, those in favor expect fewer people will drive after consuming a just drink or two.
While there is convincing evidence on both sides of the debate, both agree drunk driving needs to be addressed in some way. It remains to be seen if lowering the BAC limit is the best option to do so.
In Colorado, the drunk driving fatality rate is actually lower than the national average for both men and women. Nationally there are 5.2 deaths per 100,000 people involving a drunk driver for males and 3.9 in our state. For women, the rate was 1.5 nationally to 1.1 statewide.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, please seek representation as soon as possible to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.