Utah has enacted the nation’s toughest drunk driving law, and some people are really unhappy


Utah has just made sure that anyone who drinks even a little bit could be cited for driving which impaired.

Gary R. Herbert, Utah's governor, signed a bill into law that says any driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 or higher will be considered impaired. In every other state, the legal limit is 0.08.

For a BAC (blood alcohol content)  to fall under the new law, a 160-pound man would need to consume no more than two, 12-ounce beers; or two five-ounce glasses of wine; or two  standard 1.5 ounce shots of 80 proof liquor in an hour, according to the Centers for Disease Control. To be under the 0.08 limit, the average person may be able to have one more drink per hour.

The CDC notes that these suggestions are approximations.


In a statement, the governor defended the lower BAC.

"Public safety is our focus.  This law does not target drinking; it is a public safety law that targets impaired driving," he said.

Supporters hailed the lower limit as a victory for safety. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety called the law a "sensible solution," while the state's hospitality industry was anything but hospitable in its response.



Hospitality industry officials worry that the lower level will hurt restaurants and others if responsible customers cut back on drinking.

The law goes into effect at the end of 2018.


Related: Here's how you can get a ticket for going the speed limit