The Jan. 14 editorial “DUII Proposal in Legislature is Premature” properly calls attention to the way limited traffic safety resources are being deployed in the state. New policies and programs intended to increase road safety should be scrutinized accordingly and proven effective before being implemented.
Lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05 BAC — as one Oregon lawmaker has proposed — does not meet that criteria. A vast majority of alcohol-related traffic fatalities occur well above the current 0.08 limit. In fact, 92 percent involve someone with a BAC of 0.10 or above. This is the group that should be targeted with limited traffic safety resources.
Instead, lowering the legal limit will only create criminals out of consumers who currently drink responsibly —subjecting them to jail time, loss of license, higher insurance rates and thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees. For many, consuming a drink or two over dinner is enough to reach this newly proposed level.
Utah has already made the mistake of targeting light alcohol consumers rather than seriously drunk drivers. One clear example of twisted priorities is their ignition interlock law, which has the second worst compliance rate in the country.
When the state allows these offenders to continue to drive drunk while targeting people for arrest who have had a glass or two of wine, there is something wrong that should not be emulated.