As 2019 roles in, Utah is one of the first states to implement a stricter drunk driving law, lowering the legal limit to .05. Most all states, including Washington, are at a .08 for blood alcohol content. So that begs the question, is Washington state on the verge of lowering its blood alcohol level requirements? Time will tell, but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the dominoes start falling, similar to how the marijuana laws have changed across the country.
Utah now maintains the nation’s strictest limit for blood alcohol content. In 1983, Utah was also one of the first states to a move away from a .10 legal limit to a .08 legal limit. Like Washington, other states will be watching how this lower limit impacts citizens and the government alike.
Notwithstanding a heavy back lash from the alcohol industry, this new .05 measure was advocated by the National Transportation Safety Board in 2013. Washington, along with three other states – New York, Hawaii and Delaware – have considered legislation to reduce the limit to .05. To date, only Utah has taken the step to implement the new lower limit. This is so because opponents have argued that such an adjustment to the BAC limit only targets casual drinkers, not the more dangerous heavy drinkers. The NTSB claims, however, that research indicates the risk of being involved in a fatal crash increases markedly after a driver reaches or surpasses a .05 BAC. In 2016, there were 2,017 alcohol-related fatalities in crashes where the drivers registered a BAC below .08. Of course it only stand to reason that should Utah evidence a marked decrease in traffic deaths linked to alcohol, other states are likely to follow its lead and lower their state limit to .05 from .08.
As noted above, only time will tell as to whether Washington follows Utah’s lead in lowering its BAC level to .05. For now, it remains at .08, but it should be remembered that not too long ago (all things considered) the limit was .10.
If you or a loved one is accused of DUI (whether a citizen, or not) you should immediately consult with a qualified Seattle DUI Attorney. A qualified and respected Seattle DUI lawyer, among other things, can quite possibly save the aggrieved person thousands of dollars in court and insurance fees, the extent of loss of privilege to drive, and the amount of jail time to be served. We have said it before and will say it again, Washington DUI laws are far too complicated for any ol’ attorney to handle. Be smart and consult with a qualified and skilled Seattle DUI attorney when arrested for an alcohol and/or drug related DUI in Washington State. SQ Attorneys is here to help – (206) 441-1600.