In our opinion: Another reason to welcome Utah's .05 percent DUI law

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  • Jayson Meline Chubbuck, ID
    March 7, 2019 2:06 p.m.

    In Arizona, DUI is charged by both a BAC of .08; and an impaired to the slightest degree standard.

    If impairment by BAC cannot be proven, other evidence can be used to prove impairment. Toxicologists can attest to impairment from alcohol or drugs regardless of calculated absorption coupled with recorded behavior at the time of the traffic stop to secure DUI convictions.

    I don't drink, but there a lot of ways I can choose to be impaired as much as the guy who likes to drink. Why should I be treated any different if I choose to allow myself to be impaired by cell phone usage while driving? Isn't your choice to be on a phone while driving, to continue to drive when drowsy just as criminal as choosing to drive after drinking, getting high, taking prescribed medication?

    In terms of equity, distracted driving regardless of cause should be treated the same way as a current DUI. While that would only grow government and give more money to attorneys; any form of impaired driving should be treated the same.

    What will mitigate distracted driving more than laws is innovation as we move to hired modes of transportation, and away from dependence on individual car ownership.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 6, 2019 3:15 p.m.

    To "merich39 " it is called distracted driving. If the woman had been hit, the driver would have had to face additional charges because of driving while talking on the phone.

    You see, we already have the laws in place to cover cell phone use in vehicles, and we keep tightening those laws as more research and data comes out.

  • merich39 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2019 12:48 p.m.

    About a month ago, I was in my car stopped at a red light. A woman was walking across the street in the crosswalk from the opposite side of the street. And in my rear-view mirror, I could see a car turn the corner and speed up the empty lane next to me. I could tell he had his cell phone held to his ear. That driver blew through the red light, just barely missing this woman who was right in front of my car at that moment. If she had been walking a bit faster, or if the cell phone impaired driver had turned the corner a second later, she would likely have died before my eyes.

    And I had to wonder to myself what made her life worth saving from an alcohol using driver but not worth saving from a cell phone using driver. If "saving even one life" justifies a stricter BAC law, why wouldn't "saving even one life" justify a stricter cell phone use law? The only conclusion I could reach is that passing one law while rejecting the other was a matter of lawmaker's personal morals rather than public safety.

  • JKR Holladay, UT
    March 5, 2019 7:49 p.m.

    This article is a classic example of "selective reasoning", otherwise known as "cherry picking". 2100 lives saved is a completely uncontrolled observation, and is not reflective of any benefits that might be derived by the lower BAC limit.

    What is missing from this article is the downside to lowering the BAC to .05. That is, persons who did not cause an accident, who were not significantly impaired, and who now have to deal with thousands of dollars in legal fees, suspicion, and disgrace all because they had drinks with dinner.

    If the Utah legislature was serious about improving public safety on the roads they would:
    1) Outlaw cellphone use while driving, even hands free,
    2) Prohibit driving by persons over the age of 65 (whoa, that's me pretty soon!), and
    3) Get serious about catching those crazies whizzing by me at 100+ mph on the freeway.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    March 5, 2019 6:02 p.m.

    Any law that suggests it is okay to drink before driving is a bad law. A law that states that it is illegal to drive with a BAC level of .05 implies that driving with a BAC level of .04 or lower is okay. That's a bad law. Get back to me, Utah (and the rest of the nation), when you have a law that says drinking alcohol and driving, regardless of BAC, is illegal. That is a law I can sink my teeth into.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 5, 2019 4:33 p.m.

    To "CDM1525 " that is simple. We enact the laws reducing the allowable BAC level to .05 because there is scientific research that shows that it works.

    We don't enact more gun laws so rapidly because there is no research showing that the proposed laws work.

    In other words, there BAC being reduced to .05 works, more restrictive gun laws don't.

  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    March 5, 2019 3:02 p.m.

    Happy Valley:
    "Been tried, failed miserably.' I can't help if people have no moral compass, but at least putting a law in place puts them on notice that society is better for having laws that keep others from murdering someone because they think it is cute.'

    'Creating black markets to make criminals out of those who imbibe, seems like a reasonable response... in Saudi Arabia or other theocracies.' If you break the law, you are a criminal. Again, I can't help it if people don't have a moral compass, but...

    'Not to mention those poisoned because of bathtub gin, sad that some want to force others to follow their religious teachings by force of law?'

    Not sure what you mean here, but if you are talking about religion, I don't recall any religion in the America that forces you to believe their tenants. I know some don't know the difference, but I don't see any religion forcing anyone to do anything. It is all free choice! If anything, I see those who are irreligious trying to force others to give up their values to accommodate them, but which can't be done because you often can't get any commitment from them on what values they have.

  • CDM1525 West Point, UT
    March 5, 2019 2:25 p.m.

    Another question, why are we so quick to enact tougher alcohol laws but nothing is done about guns? In either case, it’s not the alcohol/guns that kill, it’s the people who use them.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2019 1:54 p.m.

    @RedShirtHarvard
    "so you are denying the scientific research that has been done in Europe and the US proving that the lower alcohol limit is beneficial."

    Maybe we should pool together the research papers on the subject and see if 97% of the ones that take a position on the matter (that is the basis on which that number comes from) agree.

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2019 1:48 p.m.

    Over and over we are told Europe has the .05 limit. What is never mentioned is that from .05 to .08 is an infraction, like getting a speeding ticket, not a criminal offence. They dont have to spend thousands of dollars from getting a ticket.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 5, 2019 12:45 p.m.

    @Light andLiberty;
    "The is no excuse for legalizing something that can wipe out a life because someone thought it was cute to drink! How sad that someone would think that is O.K."

    Right? Like driving while talking on the phone.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    March 5, 2019 12:33 p.m.

    To "quackquack " so you are denying the scientific research that has been done in Europe and the US proving that the lower alcohol limit is beneficial.

    To "Impartial7 " but there is. There are laws tightening restrictions on cell phone use while driving, and they are getting more and more strict each year.

    To "NeifyT" put down the tinfoil hat. The BAC change was done a year ago. Since then the companies that brew beer have stated that there isn't enough of a market for the low alcohol content beer that was being sold in Utah. The alcohol content change was due to market demands of the alcohol producing companies.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    March 5, 2019 12:25 p.m.

    Light and Liberty said: "Prohibition would have saved tens of thousands of lives, increased productivity, kept many from thinking that drinking is good for you, and kept people out of the state that want to harm our citizens."

    Been tried, failed miserably.

    Creating black markets to make criminals out of those who imbibe, seems like a reasonable response... in Saudi Arabia or other theocracies.

    Not to mention those poisoned because of bathtub gin, sad that some want to force others to follow their religious teachings by force of law?

  • Doom Turtle SLC/SLC, UT
    March 5, 2019 12:14 p.m.

    "Several other nations have adopted standards at .05 percent or lower, including much of Europe. Yet, for some reason, Americans seem intent on excusing the practice of drinking and driving."

    These same nations also ban the use of cellphones and some ban all cellphone use, including hands-free. They are truly interested in having safer roads.
    Yet, for some reason, our legislature continues to excuse these dangerous and ubiquitous practices (you are at a .08BAL equivalent level of impairment when talking on a hands-free bluetooth phone). They continue to ignore the recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board to ban cellphone use as well as ignoring much scientific data on
    the subject.
    I think our legislature is more interested in making a statement than doing what is needed to promote public safety. I'm OK with the .05 but fear the phone impaired driver more than someone driving at .05.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    March 5, 2019 12:11 p.m.

    People who drink certainly don't want to get into an auto accident. This law helps to protect them too, if they will obey it.

  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    March 5, 2019 12:00 p.m.

    Prohibition would have saved tens of thousands of lives, increased productivity, kept many from thinking that drinking is good for you, and kept people out of the state that want to harm our citizens. The is no excuse for legalizing something that can wipe out a life because someone thought it was cute to drink! How sad that someone would think that is O.K.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 5, 2019 11:22 a.m.

    @Neify;
    "Okay, not enough said. I have to question the Deseret News Editorial Board on this paragraph:
    "As a side note, this year’s Legislature is considering a bill that would increase the alcohol content of beer for sale at retail outlets in Utah. This would be a grave mistake, causing unwitting Utah drinkers to become inebriated faster and threatening the benefits from the new DUI law."

    That's a good point. A few corrections to the D-News points. First, the legislature isn't increasing the alcohol content in beer. Beer manufacturers are drastically cutting back on the watered down beer they make for Utah. Other states have grown up and drink regular beer. Beer that the rest of the USA call beer, not "high point beer" or "heavy beer". The rest of the civilized world calls it beer. Second, and I can't believe they tried to make this an issue. No beer drinker is going to unwittingly get drunk by accident on regular beer. This is what happens when non-drinkers make laws or opinions. Drinkers don't set a target #. Depending on what you eat, when you ate and your mood, alcohol has different effects. No one goes out drinking with a set # of beers or accidentally drinks too many.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2019 10:13 a.m.

    Okay, not enough said. I have to question the Deseret News Editorial Board on this paragraph:

    "As a side note, this year’s Legislature is considering a bill that would increase the alcohol content of beer for sale at retail outlets in Utah. This would be a grave mistake, causing unwitting Utah drinkers to become inebriated faster and threatening the benefits from the new DUI law."

    Can you be absolutely sure that this scenario isn't done on purpose? Make those who drink get inebriated faster; and cut down the legal limit; thus ensuring even one can of beer will be enough for cops to issue a ticket.

    Sounds like the legislature is purposely intending these new laws to be their new cash cows. We already know that they don't care about safety (or there would be serious anti-cell phone usage laws) ... it is all about punishing the "sinful" behavior.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2019 10:05 a.m.

    Well there is a first for me, I clicked like to every poster's comment (so far) on this article. Enough said.

  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 5, 2019 9:58 a.m.

    Utah should just out law the sale of beer period. In a few years I bet Utah will be the first State with a BAC of .01

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 5, 2019 9:00 a.m.

    @CDM1525 - West Point, UT
    March 5, 2019 8:25 a.m.
    Why is there not as much emphasis on driving while distracted, most notably the cell phone? Studies have been shown to support the fact that distracted driving is more dangerous than driving drunk, especially with a .05 limit."

    That's the million dollar question. And the million dollar answer is that most of the legislature doesn't believe that cell phone use is a sin.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 5, 2019 8:48 a.m.

    The difference between .05 and .08 is not 'excusing drinking and driving' in any sense. This does nothing, nothing to deal with the person willing to drive at two or three times the limit.

  • Joe Hilll Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2019 8:35 a.m.

    This is clearly a done deal no matter what the people may want. I would like to know what rational reason the state legislature could give for refusing to pass the ban hand held use of cell phones while driving when we have clear research showing it is every bit as dangerous. I have lost count of the number of close calls I have had with people playing with or talking on their cell phones while driving.

  • CDM1525 West Point, UT
    March 5, 2019 8:25 a.m.

    Why is there not as much emphasis on driving while distracted, most notably the cell phone? Studies have been shown to support the fact that distracted driving is more dangerous than driving drunk, especially with a .05 limit. And I say all of this as a non-drinker.

  • quackquack Park City, UT
    March 5, 2019 7:38 a.m.

    The study is hog wash and so is the .5 limit, Its a money maker for the state sorry to say it but people who are going to drink and drive dont say they are going to drink and drive before hand. They get drunk then the liquid courage kicks in and they drive.

    The law makers who passed this bill are out of touch and only see the data on paper. If they actually do some research and go to a bar or night club no is saying Im not drinking cause of the .5 limit most are saying I dont give a ... and driving

    The responsible ones have a DD or take Uber and Lyft , the .5 limit just puts casual drinker or ill have a glass of wine at dinner people with DUI's .

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 5, 2019 7:19 a.m.

    "Several other nations have adopted standards at .05 percent or lower, including much of Europe. Yet, for some reason, Americans seem intent on excusing the practice of drinking and driving."

    Much of Europe has neighborhood pubs and restaurants that are within walking distance, meshed into their housing. Yet, for some reason, Utah disallows the European approach to cut down on drinking and driving.