People in Utah may think twice about having that extra drink before driving home from their New Year’s Eve parties, CNN reported.
Starting Sunday, the state will lower its blood alcohol content limit to 0.05, the strictest DUI standard in the nation.
The new law also states that anyone who “operates a motor vehicle in a negligent manner causing the death of another” and has a “blood alcohol concentration of .05 grams or greater” will have committed a criminal homicide, a felony.
The state said it’s seen an average of 29.8 DUI arrests every day for the last five years, or more than 54,400 arrests.
“Despite decades of public campaigns and other efforts to discourage driving after drinking, survey and observational data show many people continue to do so,” Utah’s Department of Public Safety said.
All other states continue to hold a 0.08 limit for noncommercial drivers over the age of 21, a level the National Transportation Safety Board has been pushing to lower for years.
“We’ve recommended a 0.05 (blood alcohol content) to states since 2013, and we are happy that Utah is the first to actually complete this recommendation,” NTSB member Bella Dinh-Zarr said. “We think it will be a great incentive for other states and an encouragement to follow suit.”
She said close to 100 countries with such a law experience a lower rate of alcohol-related deaths, even though their citizens drink as much alcohol per capita as Americans.
Drunken-driving fatalities in the United States have decreased by a third over the past 30 years, but almost 29 people still die each day from alcohol-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2016, the latest year for which that agency has available data, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes — making up 28% of all motor vehicle fatalities.