Let's have a sober look at the .05 percent DUI law

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  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 26, 2018 6:52 a.m.

    To "RanchHand" that is not true. Only in the large cities are pubs that close to home. Outside the cities they are further apart.

    Plus, why do you have to drive to and from a bar in your own car? Why can't you use Uber or a taxi or have a designated driver?

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Feb. 25, 2018 9:07 a.m.

    @RedShirtUofU;

    You also left out the fact that you can WALK to most pubs in Europe; you don't have to go 5 miles in order to find one.

    @Doom Turtle;

    I too was rear-ended while stationary at a semaphore. The woman was turned around yelling at her precious bundles of joy. We should therefore ban children in cars too; as it creates distracted parents behind the wheel.

    @Colduphere;

    Getting people out of religious organizations that drive them to suicide will help save lives too.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, WA
    Feb. 23, 2018 12:09 p.m.

    ...but,
    lunatics are still free to buy assault rifles....

    Whatever --
    the looney right-wing has lost all common sense to me...

  • Shawn In Olympia Olympia, WA
    Feb. 23, 2018 10:50 a.m.

    Driving is a complex divided attention task. A person has to do a lot of different things at the same time to drive safely. When a person is impaired they are less able to function as needed as a driver, and put everyone at risk.

    I attended and watched a “wet lab” at our Washington State Patrol building in Seattle. For those of you who don’t know what a wet lab is, it is where people drink and are observed while drinking, while monitoring their levels of impairment, then their ability to perform the standardized filed sobriety tests at different levels of impairment. In this case there were four drinkers, different sexes, and sizes. They were drinking different drinks, including wine, beer, and mixed drinks. After they started drinking (from a sober state), they each said they were too impaired to drive. Three said this between .04 and .05, one said it when he was at .07. They continued to drink up to about a .15 level, where they stopped. The interesting thing was as their level was decreasing, they each said they were sober enough to drive around the .09 level. The sober brain registered the impairment before .08, but a drunk brain was not dependable on impairment.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2018 10:29 a.m.

    "Isn't it hypocritical that with this new dui law that our bought off lawmakers approve and think that someone with the same blood alcohol level of .05 would still be able to utilize their gun if necessary but not be sober enough to drive a car?"

    Not hypocritical at all. The difference is that one is in your home (private property) and the other is on public roads.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2018 10:25 a.m.

    The objections to a 0.05 BA law start with "Yah, but...." Scientific evidence and most developed countries agree that the new limit is based on rational thinking. Opposition arguments to the new law highlight the need for it, i.e. I can drink and still drive safely. Liquor industry lobbyists are protecting their profits at the expense of public safety by opposing the new law. Utah legislators must not cave in to this pressure.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 10:50 p.m.

    @ Imp. 7 -- It's only the ones that drink and then insist they drive that are the problem. Drink yourself into oblivion for all I care, but just don't get behind the wheel afterwards. Ever.

    @Yar -- No, cell phone usage may be as distracting but as soon as a driver realizes he hits the rumble strips or someone honks at him as they swerve out of the way, the cell phone user can immediately start driving safely again. That just isn't true for being intoxicated, in fact you'd likely never realize you were on the rumble strips and if you realized someone was honking at you, you wouldn't know why. So NO they are not equal. I agree that either behavior is dangerous and can kill or maim you and/or others, but they aren't the nearly the same in terms of recovery from a near-miss. And most cell phone problems result in a near miss and that can't be said for issues involving drunk drivers, such as going the wrong way on the freeway. No cell phone user has ever done that.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 22, 2018 8:45 p.m.

    Everybody loves European standards until it's their ox being gored.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Feb. 22, 2018 8:24 p.m.

    Any law that suggests you can consume alcohol and drive is irresponsible. It should be zero-tolerance. And, using alcohol deaths as an excuse to do nothing about uniquely American problem of mass shootings in schools is both irresponsible and reprehensible.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 3:39 p.m.

    The author contends that the 65% drop in alcohol related fatalities between 1982 and 2016:

    "corresponds nicely with the nationwide move to a .08 percent limit"

    It turns out the overall fatality rate dropped about the same percent! In fact the RATE of fatalities has dropped over 90% since 1924!

    It probably has more to do with automobile safety features, than with drinking laws!

  • Yar Springville, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 1:34 p.m.

    Really gotta love the pathetic arguments secularists are using on this comments section to take down the DUI bill. Seriously guys. This is not a bill about prohibiting drinking, like amendment 18 was in the 20th century. This is about teaching people to be smart while drinking.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 1:14 p.m.

    " People in Utah, that don't drink, are bigots and persecutors to those that do. Right?"

    Absolutely and tragically wrong, drink all you want. It's not about drinking. It's about drinking and driving, a not very subtle difference.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 1:01 p.m.

    The CDC reports that 88,000 alcohol-related deaths occur in the United States per year. 29% of all traffic-related deaths involved alcohol. In 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol related accidents. 1,132 children under the age of 15 were killed in auto accidents. 16% of them were killed by an alcohol-impaired driver.

    The nation is in an uproar over gun deaths, but it turns a blind eye to drunk drivers who killed 209 kids in 2015.

    Should we ban alcohol? Should we finance field trips to the State Capitols so that kids can express their feelings about their friends who were slaughtered by drunk drivers? Should we impound any vehicle that travels faster than the typical horse in 1776 to keep drunks from killing our kids?

    We know that alcohol-related driving deaths would never occur if drinkers NEVER drove. How many deaths are acceptable to those who demand that the law remain at 0.08%? What price has the beverage industry put on a life? What excuse do drivers have after their impairment kills someone?

  • RedShirtUofU Andoria, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 11:27 a.m.

    To "Impartial7" so what you are saying is that you don't believe the science that the NTSB and most European countries have done. They found that even at .05 BAC there was impairment on a driver. In Europe they found deaths due to impaired driving drop after lowering the legal limit.

    To "pragmatistferlife" the science shows that a .05 BAC impairs a driver. Are you saying that science is wrong?

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 9:23 a.m.

    "But there are people who are dangerous driving a car at .05-.08 BAC so why should it be legal to do it?"

    Again for millionth time, we're talking about Utah. We're not talking about Germany, Australia, or any other heavy drinking culture, and the point of the above quote is just not supported in the facts of accidents and fatalities in Utah. You're just making stuff up.

    In addition one of the tragedies here is that this little escapade of smoke and mirrors is concealing the real problem, that our legislators won't do anything that will deter the real dangers speeders and wreck less drivers.

    In fact quite the opposite. Twice now this paper has had articles about how police should not have quotas for issuing traffic violations. Quotas are motivators, as every sales organization knows, but hey let's not do that, let's pass a law that (A, won't effect me, and (B basically wont' effect anyone, because this group isn't the problem.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 8:36 a.m.

    As a recent TV beer commercial starring Jackie Stewart notes - When you drink, never drive. Most of the developed world has a 0.05% BA limit and Utah is simply joining with them. Now it is time for the rest of the US to become enlightened.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 22, 2018 7:01 a.m.

    I have absolutely no problem with people who want to drink.... that is absolutely their prerogative. What I have a huge issue with is anyone who drinks, then gets behind the wheel of a car. You want to drink... do it. Just get a taxi, uber, left, or a friend to drive you to your next destination.

    In Germany where I had an office for 4 years, there was a zero tolerance for drunk driving. The penalties were far more sever then here in the states - even Utah. And yet Germans are actually world class drinkers as well. They just don't drink and drive. It's not that complicated....

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 6:58 a.m.

    @AlanSutton;
    "Taxis and Uber drivers are ubiquitous; there is no excuse for driving after drinking alcohol - of any quantity."

    Yeah, a customer has a $5.00 glass of wine with dinner, not drunk, even cops admit they can't tell the difference, and needs to get a $15.00 Uber? Most Utahn's making alcohol laws, never drink. Many also believe having 2 beers with a pizza makes one an alcoholic. People, jacked up on religion have no business making alcohol laws. If I try to interject my values and opinions into a religion I'm not involved in, I'm labeled as a religious bigot or am guilty of religious persecution. The same must apply here. People in Utah, that don't drink, are bigots and persecutors to those that do. Right?

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    Feb. 22, 2018 2:53 a.m.

    FatherOfFour nice job of making up statistics out of thin air. The FBI has reported 38,000 firearm fatalities in 2016, 11,000 of them Homicides. So where did you get your "58,852" number, it wasn't from the FBI or the CDC.

  • Colduphere Afton, WY
    Feb. 21, 2018 9:23 p.m.

    A reduced BAC limit could save lives. Not everyone who is under a .08 BAC will exhibit signs of being impaired so are not likely to even get stopped or tested. But there are people who are dangerous driving a car at .05-.08 BAC so why should it be legal to do it?

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 5:58 p.m.

    water rocket. " In fact, all forms of impaired driving are being discouraged, including texting, sleep deprived, making cellular phone calls, putting on make-up, eating, and any activity that distracts or impairs a driver. Maybe what you need is a driverless vehicle?"

    Really..show me the legislation, show me the increased enforcement measures and I'll take you seriously...you can't because they don't exist.

    It's smoke and mirrors.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 5:39 p.m.

    Steve C. Warren, you say "I suspect far more people have died in accidents involving drivers who have consumed carbonated beverages." Please tell me you aren't serious. It is fake comments like these that show how some people will grasp at any thing to justify irresponsible behavior. Also, the point of this bill is NOT to restrict your drinking, it is to help you understand that driving after drinking is not a good idea. In fact, all forms of impaired driving are being discouraged, including texting, sleep deprived, making cellular phone calls, putting on make-up, eating, and any activity that distracts or impairs a driver. Maybe what you need is a driverless vehicle?

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    Feb. 21, 2018 5:20 p.m.

    ConservativeCommonTater - West Valley City, UT
    "For Thurston and earlier, Waddoups, the whole campaign of reducing the DUI rate from .08 to .05 has been nothing more than an extension of their religious beliefs against alcohol."

    That explains why Europe, a continent not really renowned for religiosity and teetotalism, has adopted the .05 (or lower) DUI limit. I don't deny there isn't a religious influence on Utah's law, but that doesn't mean the law is bad.

    This law has the potential to save lives and I hope the legislature adopts similar laws against other serious public health threats. But let's not pass judgment on this law because the government has failed to pass other laws. Let this law stand on its own while encouraging our politicians to pass additional laws to protect our citizens.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 4:17 p.m.

    Re: "The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that 2,017 people died nationwide in accidents involving drivers with blood alcohol contents of .01 percent to .07 percent in 2016."

    I suspect far more people have died in accidents involving drivers who had recently consumed carbonated beverages.

    Frankly, a driver at 2 a.m. who is below .07 may be safer than other drivers at that time because he may have been alert enough to stop drinking after one or two drinks precisely because he did not want to drive while truly impaired.

  • ConservativeCommonTater West Valley City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 4:12 p.m.

    " About 67 percent of DUI fatalities nationwide involved at least one driver with a .15 percent blood alcohol level or higher in 2016, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration."

    For Thurston and earlier, Waddoups, the whole campaign of reducing the DUI rate from .08 to .05 has been nothing more than an extension of their religious beliefs against alcohol. As the comment above says; it is the chronic alcoholic that drinks almost to a stupor and causes accident. No law will prevent those people from drinking and driving.

    The real clincher is that the Legislature, primarily Mormons, REFUSED to make DUI penalties for the biggest group of people that are "distracted drivers," those with cell phones. They greatly outnumber impaired drinkers exponentially and they will kill more people than DUI rates of .05%

    A recent high school student ran into the back of a bus and was killed. Reports say there was no attempt to stop and it was believed that he never saw the school bus that he hit. Why not? Could it be that he was a distracted driver using a cell phone. No one has said. Why not?

  • Chris from Rose Park Hartford, CT
    Feb. 21, 2018 3:51 p.m.

    I have read many times, from commentors, that the new limit is going to result in an unfair amount of DUIs being given. I haven't really understood this logic. I've been pulled over multiple times for speeding and for having a headlight out. I was not tested for alcohol in any of these instances. My guess is that I haven't come off impaired and thus haven't ever been tested. I don't believe this law is going to get cops to start testing everyone they pull over.

    They'll test you if you have been exhibiting the signs of driving impaired just as they have always done. The only difference is that people that would have once gotten off because they were less than between .05 and .08 will now be given a DUI. In the end though, isn't it good for these people to realize that they were impaired even though under the old limit? It will teach people they can't handle as much as they thought.

    On the other hand, if you are at .07, but show no signs of impairment you will either not be pulled over, or if you are, you will most likely not even be tested. This will only effect people who can't be unimpaired from .05 to .08.

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    Feb. 21, 2018 2:47 p.m.

    I agree with others' comments, Utah doesn't have a big drinking problem so this law isn't likely to have a big impact on public safety. But, it still does have an impact for a relatively low cost (reducing the number of alcohol related traffic deaths is always a good thing). Similar laws have been shown to reduce alcohol related fatalities and I think adopting the law, even with a small potential benefit, is worthwhile.

    It's also worth discussing other laws regarding distracted driving, drowsy driving, gun ownership, etc. Each of these issues also impact public safety and legislatures should be addressing them. But those discussions should not determine whether or not a .05 BAC goes into effect. The law was passed, let's quit debating it and move on to other public safety issues.

    In 5-10 years, once we have data, let's see what impact the law had, both on DUI-fatalities/accidents, alcohol consumption, restaurant revenue, etc. With that data we can make more informed opinions about whether the law was good or bad and make changes if necessary. Hopefully by then we'll have fully autonomous cars so people can do whatever they want in a vehicle.

  • Doom Turtle SLC/SLC, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 1:43 p.m.

    The legislature again failed to restrict cell phone usage by drivers. I have had the "personal freedom" to be rear-ended 3 times while stationary by cell phone talking drivers, not texting.
    On two of these occasions the damage was thousands of dollars to my car. I fear cell phones more than the .05 BAC driver, as scientific data shows they are impaired at a .08 BAC level, even while talking hands free. Many of the same European countries with a .05 BAC limit also ban cell phone use. Do our legislators truly care about public safety or making a statement about alcohol? I don't drive after drinking, FYI. I'm a physician and don't see a need to talk while driving, I wait till it’s safe to pull off the road.

  • Yar Springville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 12:42 p.m.

    Also, to those mentioning cellphones as a problem, how about telling the folks behind the bill to include a more strict regulation of cellphone usage in a vehicle in that DUI bill? There. Now all cellphone users will think twice before risking their lives and other people’s lives from using their cellphones. And yes. I’m willing to allow cellphone usage while driving to be punished just as harshly as a DUI. That’s also just as bad as driving while intoxicated.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 12:34 p.m.

    But why would this have any effect? Criminals are just going to break the law anyway. At least, that's what the gun supporters argue...

    Fortunately for me, I don't particularly oppose this law so unlike plenty of others on both sides, I'm not in a double-standard position.

  • Yar Springville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 12:30 p.m.

    “Nothing in the state law that was passed last year, and which has an effective date of Dec. 30 this year, would change the availability of alcohol or a person’s ability to drink it.”

    So why all the useless protesting? You still have the freedom to drink to your heart's content. Just be responsible while you’re at it and don’t operate a vehicle while intoxicated. This law is designed to teach that responsibility. Enough guessing where you’re BAC level is at. Just don’t operate a vehicle after drinking.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 12:23 p.m.

    The point the author makes is that our alcohol-drinking and driving culture must change and that "change needs to begin somewhere". His point is well taken. Taxis and Uber drivers are ubiquitous; there is no excuse for driving after drinking alcohol - of any quantity.

  • RedShirtUofU Andoria, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 12:20 p.m.

    Ok liberals, whenever there is a shooting you start screaming that we need more gun laws to prevent more deaths. Yet here, there is a lot of scientific data showing that a .05 BAC is safer than a .08 BAC and you are fighting against it. As others have pointed out, it seems like you don't care about people dying, but are more concerned about an agenda.

    To "FatherOfFour" they also left out the fact that a .05 alcohol level is the legal limit throughout much of Europe. In Europe it hasn't slowed the consumption of alcohol, why would it slow it here?

  • byronbca Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 12:10 p.m.

    For an OpEd claiming to take take a sober look at the issue, it is drunk with deliberate omissions of facts.

    The author is quick to use a stat that shows 2,000 drivers have died with a BAC between .01 and .07, but how many of those deaths were alcohol related, or where the fault of the person who had a drink or 2. Why was that half of the stat omitted? Probably because I read another study that said this new law would only save about 2 to 3 lives per year in Utah.

    This law is Draconian, and the people who are supporting it are drunk with feelings, personal beliefs, and theories.

    Studies have shown that speeding at 10 miles over the speed limit is more deadly than driving at .08 BAC or lower, but I wonder how many people who support this new DUI law would also support a $3,000 fine, an arrest, and an impound of their car for speeding?

    I do not support drunk diving, but that isn’t what this law is about. The word drunk doesn’t apply to anyone under a BAC of .10.

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 11:41 a.m.

    Talk about a misleading article.

    When Mr. Evensen mentions the opposition arguments to the law (virtually no deaths in Utah with a BAC under .08, and a 5 times greater likely hood of being killed by a speeder in Utah) his retort is to quickly jump to national statistics and international cultures, completely neglecting the point that we are talking about Utah and Utah culture.

    Utah does not have a heavy drinking culture so who cares what Sweden does.

    Utah's drinking culture is very moderate, as evidenced by the results, and I can say personal experience.

    Fact is you're probably not going to get a DUI ticket if your at .08 or .05 unless you're involved in traffic incident, and the statistics tell us that is pretty unlikely. So in terms of real consequences there probably won't be any except folks like Mr. Evensen can feel all good about themselves.

    The real issue is their spending their time on this nothing burger when speeding and reckless driving are going un touched.

    Save and use your righteous indignation Mr. Evensen for the real problem. When you do that I'll listen.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 11:24 a.m.

    Re: "Nonetheless that has nothing to do with the article."

    Funny how liberals always want to compartmentalize discussions, so as to suggest that, unless one uses their "facts," to make their points, his input is irrelevant.

    My point is that the same liberals that endlessly wring their hands over the number of long-gun deaths, blithely encourage misery, death, and destruction when it comes to their favorite vices.

    Leaves one to wonder what their real agenda is.

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 10:44 a.m.

    First of all. I don't drink alcohol. As to the information in this article, it is biased and unusable.
    "The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that 2,017 people died nationwide in accidents involving drivers with blood alcohol contents of .01 percent to .07 percent in 2016."
    This statement is hogwash unless it also includes the number of people who died in accidents involving drivers with 0.0% blood alcohol levels, which is probably just as high. Driving a car is dangerous and sometimes people get killed. I am far more concerned about a driver with a cell phone than someone with a 0.07% blood alcohol level.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 10:22 a.m.

    What people are missing is that the exemption for self defense is on your own private property whereas driving is on public roads.

    What no one in the beverage industry is willing to admit is that they are OK with drinking and driving---totally OK with it. And so far, so have the laws been OK with it and we just argue about degrees of drunkenness (aka: impairment).

    Leave the law in place; in fact, adopt it nation-wide. Dying at the hands of a drunk driver (whatever the level of impairment) needs to become absolutely unacceptable.

    And using arguments about deaths from distracted driving, smoking, diabetes or other diseases or causes is just a smoke screen to divert attention away from the real issue of drunken driving. But then, that's their intention: talk about other things so as to muddy the water to the point the Legislators are second guessing their previous action. That's politics at it's finest, I suppose, though certainly not supporting highway safety.

  • FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 10:07 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal, I don't know where you're getting your information but the FBI reported 58,852 gun related deaths in 2016. I do not know what the breakdown was of long guns versus handguns, but that is still way more than 2,017. Nonetheless that has nothing to do with the article.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 10:05 a.m.

    procuradorfiscal, you forgot to mention the carnage of tobacco entirely.

    Because here in Utah, alcohol is the flashpoint. It, as opposed to the painkillers, is the joy the church won't let you have, and you'd just as soon I not have it either.

  • Rubydo Provo, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 9:59 a.m.

    Isn't it hypocritical that with this new dui law that our bought off lawmakers approve and think that someone with the same blood alcohol level of .05 would still be able to utilize their gun if necessary but not be sober enough to drive a car? This new dui law is based on emotion and the dictates of the local culture, not common sense or reason. There are far more accidents and fatalities caused by distracted people on their phones than from someone that's had one drink which shouldn't ever be considered drunk driving. That's something our the locals can't ever understand because they've been sheltered their whole lives from alcohol behind the Zion curtain.

  • FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 9:53 a.m.

    "In Sweden, where I have lived and where the DUI level is .02 percent, the figure is about 3 percent." Are there any other laws you'd like to borrow from Sweden? Their healthcare, gun laws, universal education funding, anything else? Nope? Just this one?

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 9:51 a.m.

    Re: "The [NHTSA] reports that 2,017 people died nationwide in accidents involving drivers with blood alcohol contents of .01 percent to .07 percent in 2016."

    It should be noted that this figure is roughly 5 times the number of people killed by all long guns -- not just so-called assault rifles -- during the same period. It also pales in comparison to the total number of alcohol-related deaths -- an estimated 88,000 people, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

    Yet, the same leftist billionaire liberals and trade union activists who jump to foster and finance Florida youngsters' ersatz field trips to Tallahassee and Washington, DC to protest "gun violence" are curiously silent about an issue that kills WAY more Americans than guns.

    Makes on wonder what their liberals' real agenda is, huh?

  • FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 21, 2018 9:50 a.m.

    From the article, "The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that 2,017 people died nationwide in accidents involving drivers with blood alcohol contents of .01 percent to .07 percent in 2016." But correlation does not mean causation. The fact that they were at .02 percent and had an accident may have nothing to do with the fact that they may have been sleepy, or using their cell phone, or distracted at the same time. I guarantee that other studies out there are using these exact same accidents but pointing to other issues to pass different laws.

    "Nor should the aim be to reduce the consumption of alcohol. Nothing in the state law that was passed last year, and which has an effective date of Dec. 30 this year, would change the availability of alcohol or a person’s ability to drink it." Also not true. Many who argued in favor of this legislation specifically stressed the overall reduction in consumption as a goal of the legislation. And whereas you previously could have had a glass of wine with your lunch and legally driven back to the office, that is no longer an option. This is why restaurants specifically argued against this legislation.