Utah has lowered its blood alcohol limit (BAL) to 0.05 percent Sunday, the lowest in a nation that suffers about 29 alcohol-related deaths every day BuzzFeed News reported.
"It's been a long time coming, and it's going to be good for the state of Utah," Utah State Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, told Fox 13 in Salt Lake City.
"It's going to reduce the number of people who choose to drive after drinking. It's also going to reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths."
The law sponsored by Thurston, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, went into effect the day before New Year's Eve. The Mormon church advises against drinking alcohol and Utah has long boasted the most restrictive drinking laws in the U.S., having been the first state to drop its BAL from .10 percent of .08 percent in 1983, according to the report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines suggest a 160-pound man consuming four drinks in an hour would have a BAL of 0.08 percent. The new law lowers the BAL standard to three drinks in an hour for a 160-pound man.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which reports about 10,000 alcohol-related deaths per year, has advocated for a 0.05 percent limit across the U.S., where states all have a .08 percent limit.
"If Utah lawmakers want to reduce alcohol-related fatalities, they need to ensure that current ignition interlock laws are being enforced and that the devices stay on the vehicles of high-BAC and repeat offenders for as long as possible," managing director of the American Beverage Institute Sarah Longwell wrote in a statement. "That's what will save lives, not targeting those who choose to enjoy a drink with dinner."
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