Utah Representative Pushing to Lower Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration Level

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah)- A Utah representative is pushing to lower the state's legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Under current law, the BAC for driving under the influence is .08. However, in the 2017 General Session Rep. Norm Thurston, District 64, says he is planning to push to lower the the levels to .05.

"It's a needed change for the whole country. It is well known that impairment begins with the first drink, but many drivers don't realize that even low levels of BAC can degrade skills and increase the risk of crashes," Rep. Thurston said.

"Lowering the legal limit will help reduce deaths, injuries and losses related to alcohol-impaired driving. More drivers will become aware that there is a significant increase in risk that occurs well before reaching 0.08." 

Rep. Thurston says most European nations have a legal limit of .05.

Still, Connor Boyack with Libertas Institute says this bill is a bad idea.

"We agree with the outcomes. we certainly want less fatalities on the road, we want less dangerous drivers, and we don't think people we should drink and drive. The problem is lowering the BAC to .05 is a very sloppy way of going about it," said Boyack.

If the bill gets passed, Utah would be the first state in the country to drop its legal limit below .08.

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