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Utah set to lower legal DUI limit, other states could follow

If traffic safety advocates have their way, Tennessee motorists could soon be subjected to stricter drunk driving limits. Further, a new national poll shows that most Americans would welcome the change.

Federal statistics show that an average of 29 people are killed in alcohol-related car accidents every day across the U.S., and the total cost of these crashes exceeds $44 billion per year. In response to the problem, Utah is set to enact the nation's toughest drunk driving limit at the end of the year. On Dec. 30, the state's blood alcohol content limit will drop from .08 to .05.

While all the other states along with the District of Columbia still have a blood alcohol limit of .08, a new poll by the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute indicates that change may be coming. According to the survey, 55 percent of Americans support lowering the legal alcohol limit to .05. This is the level that the National Transportation Safety Board has been promoting for years. The agency claims that drivers with a blood alcohol level between .05 and .079 are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash when compared to sober drivers. The agency also estimates that dropping the legal limit to .05 would save almost 1,800 lives each year.

Individuals convicted of drunk driving charges could be incarcerated and/or assessed heavy fines. In addition, they could have their driver's license restricted or revoked. However, not every DUI defendant is convicted. By working with a criminal defense attorney, it may be possible for a defendant to fight the charges and protect his or her future. Legal counsel could develop a defense to the allegations and work to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Source: Governing, "How Drunk Is Too Drunk to Drive?", Jean Raphael, Oct. 23, 2018

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