Utah has lowered the threshhold for drunk driving to 0.05 blood alcohol level, which makes it...

Utah has lowered the threshhold for drunk driving to 0.05 blood alcohol level, which makes it the toughest state law on the books.

Photo via Garrett/Flickr.

Utah has implemented a new law that lowers its blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from 0.08 to 0.05 on Dec. 30, which gives the state the strictest DUI law in the country for drivers with a standard license.

The national standard is 0.08 and all states aside from Utah currently hold that threshold for noncommercial drivers over 21. Drivers of commercial vehicles with a commercial driver's license (CDL) are held to the federal requirements set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of no more than a 0.04 BAC.

Under the new law, Utah drivers that cause a fatality and have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 BAC or greater will be convicted of a felony, specifically, criminal homicide, reports CNN.

The law hasn't yet resulted in additional DUI arrests. On Dec. 30 and Dec 31, Utah Highway Patrol made a total of 19 arrests for driving under the influence. However, none of the offending drivers had a BAC below the previous 0.08 limit, reports USA Today.

The goal of Utah's new law is to deter motorists from driving after drinking, and ultimately, to save lives.

The National Transportation Safety Board applauded Utah's move, reports note. Since 2013, the agency has been recommending that states change to a 0.05 BAC limit, claiming a lower limit will reduce fatal collisions linked to drunk driving.  

Opponents of Utah's new measure say it unfairly targets social drinkers and will distract law enforcement from pursuing the most dangerous high-BAC offenders on the roads.

Editor's note: This story was updated on Jan. 4 to clarify the rules for CDL holders.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet

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