Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Utah Enacts Nation’s First .05% BAC Law

  • March 23, 2017
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 23, 2017 

Contact: Bill Bronrott, 202-270-4415, bronrott@gmail.com

STATEMENT OF JACKIE GILLAN, PRESIDENT OF ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY, ON UTAH ENACTING THE NATION’S FIRST .05% BAC LAW

This commonsense, research-based law will make Utah’s roads safer for motorists.

Impaired driving is one of the deadliest plagues on our streets and roads.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) commends Governor Gary Herbert and the Utah Legislature for enacting the nation’s first .05 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) law. The bill (HB 155), sponsored by Representative Norman Thurston and Senator J. Stuart Adams, was a significant victory advancing the safety of Utah families and visitors.

Utah families are paying with their lives and their wallets because of drunk driving. In 2015, there were 276 fatalities on the state’s roads and nearly twenty percent of those deaths (53) were alcohol-related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Over the ten-year period from 2006 to 2015, 468 people were killed on Utah’s roadways in crashes involving a drunk driver. Furthermore, all traffic crashes cost Utah taxpayers $1.725 billion annually. This is equivalent to a “crash tax” of nearly $600 for every person in Utah. Drunk driving is a serious problem and the Utah Legislature and Governor Herbert have achieved a sensible solution.

This law is backed by scientific research, data and outcomes from over 100 countries that have already changed their laws to .05 percent BAC and reduced impaired driving. Reducing BAC limits will not discourage alcohol consumption, but it will deter dangerous drinking and driving. Laboratory evidence shows that most adults are significantly impaired at .05 percent BAC. When a driver gets behind the wheel of a car at this BAC level, his or her driving skills are severely degraded resulting in difficulty steering and tracking moving objects and reduced response to emergency driving situations.

There is broad support for this law from national, state and local public health and safety organizations, parents, law enforcement and emergency responders. It is time that other states follow the lead of Utah.

Each person needlessly killed in an alcohol related crash forever changes the lives of families and communities. Advocates thanks and congratulates Governor Herbert, Representative Thurston, Senator Adams, and all HB 155 supporters in the Utah Legislature for demonstrating leadership and courage, and for saving lives.

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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (www.saferoads.org) is a coalition of consumer, public health, medical, safety and insurance organizations working together to improve highway and auto safety policies in Congress, states and Executive branch agencies.