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When it comes to car safety, one of the most important guidelines is to not drive while under the influence of any substances that alter your state of mind. This is especially important when it comes to drinking and driving because this is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Because of this, all states have laws that determine the legal blood alcohol limit. However, as most people would guess, Utah has a much more strict requirement for your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC.)

Here’s a look into Utah and its laws concerning drinking and driving.

The history of drunk driving laws

Many people may think that there have been drunk driving laws for as long as there have been cars. However, this is not the case as the United States didn’t get the first regulations for driving under the influence until 1910.

New York was first, and then California followed with its own group of rules. However, these laws weren’t all that detailed, as it was up to law enforcement to determine if a person had consumed too much alcohol.

Another important milestone in implementing drunk driving laws came in 1980 when Candy Lightner lost her daughter after an accident caused by a drunk driver. This led her to form Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD.)

This organization fought for tougher laws surrounding drunk driving. Then, in 1984, the organization helped influence lawmakers to pass the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. This required all 50 states to raise the minimum drinking age to 21. However, the act wasn’t fully implemented until a few years later.

Unfortunately, the process of standardizing this type of road safety across the country was long. According to Bernstein Injury Law, it was still legal to drink and drive in 26 states as late as 1985. Drunk driving didn’t become illegal in all 50 states until 1988 when lawmakers fully implemented the National Minimum Drinking Age Act.

The law defines drunk drinking as having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or above. This law helped decrease drunk driving accidents by 20%.

Utah has the lowest BAC limit in the USA

Some people would assume that all states have the same blood alcohol content limit since drinking and driving laws are mostly standardized. This was the case until 2018, which is when Utah created a state law to decrease the legal BAC from 0.08 to 0.05. The state made this change because lawmakers believed having a presence of alcohol in one’s system, even under 0.08, still posed a significant risk.

The Utah drunk drinking law might seem strict, but it has been effective in lessening the number of accidents caused by drunk drivers in the state. According to the previously mentioned source, accidents caused by drinking and driving have decreased by about 20%. This legal alcohol limit is in accordance with Utah’s overall stricter rules related to the use and availability of alcohol.

Utah has some of the strictest liquor laws in the nation

Utah has some of the strictest laws surrounding the sale and use of alcohol in the country. It’s what’s called a ‘control state’, which means the state controls the wholesale and distribution of alcohol. However, Utah is different because it is one of six states that also controls wine. This is also the only state that oversees the sale of beer that has an AVB of over 5%.

Beyond Utah being a control state, there are rules on the books that differ from many other states. According to Get tips, they include:

  • Shoppers must purchase all wine and sprits from state-run liquor stores
  • State-owned liquor stores are closed on Sundays
  • Only licensed distilleries can sell their products directly to customers
  • If beer has an AVB percentage under 5% it can be sold in grocery stores
  • Restaurants and bars are not permitted to serve alcohol to a person who seems intoxicated
  • There are limitations on specials such as ‘happy hour’

Drinking and driving is a massive issue across the country. Some states may have different laws that govern it, but one thing will always be true. There is never a reason to get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you’re not safe to drive. If you have doubts about if you’re under the legal alcohol limit, call a friend, walk if it’s not too far, or call a ride-share service.

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