Utah Lowers Blood Alcohol Limit in 2018


Photo by Mike Kline

Lexi Sampson, Staff Writer

On March 23, 2017, Gov. Gary Herbert announced that the legal blood-alcohol level laws will be changing. This will take effect on December 30, 2018.

The current alcohol limit is 0.08 and will be lowered to 0.05. According to USA Today, “the drop means someone could be considered legally too drunk to drive after as little as a single strong drink, depending on their weight and tolerance,” Gov. Herbert said. “We’re not asking for prohibition, we’re hoping people take this as a cautionary note.”

The announcement of the bill brought a very split opinion on the matter according to a poll done by The Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics. 

“The bulk of the support comes from non-drinking “very active” Mormons, while all other religious categories overwhelmingly oppose it − even “somewhat active” Mormons,” stated an article in The Salt Lake Tribune.

While the decision is solid, Herbert said that the bill would have a year and a half to be reviewed by critics in case any necessary changes needed to be made to the bill. While it has made Utah the strictest state when it comes to driving and drinking laws, the goal is to make the roads safer for others that are driving.

It was also acknowledged in the press conference that Herbert feels it will be easier for Utah to keep the law since people typically have to drive farther to get to a liquor store while in other places in the U.S., such as larger cities, it is easier due to all the pubs that are located in neighborhoods. “With the available information that we have, I think that 0.05 is a good place to draw the line,” Herbert said.