Utah has adopted the toughest DUI standards in the United States by becoming the first state to lower the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold from 0.08 to 0.05 percent. The National Transportation Safety Board has been pushing for this change for years. The new law will go into effect in 2018. Read the full story in the Washington Post.
Critics of the change fear that lowering the BAC to 0.05 will hurt Utah’s tourism industry, but according to the National Highway Transit Safety Administration, a driver’s odds of getting into a crash with a BAC of 0.08 are four times higher than with a BAC of 0.05.
Lowering the BAC threshold makes makes sense as a public policy, but for safety, nothing compares to driving sober. The importance of driving sober is a theme promoted by Drive Smart Virginia, a nonprofit organization working to raise safe driving awareness and change behaviors that cause unsafe roadways. They encourage Virginians to always choose a designated driver when going out to drink alcohol.
It may only be a matter of time before Virginia joins Utah in lowering the BAC threshold for drivers to 0.05 percent. In the meantime, driving under the influence in Virginia is negligence, no matter how careful the impaired driver tries to be. If an impaired driver causes injuries, that driver’s liability is often a foregone conclusion. In addition to being liable for compensatory damages, an impaired driver might also be subject to punitive damages, simply for driving while being impaired. If you have been hurt by a drunk driver and would like to know your rights, reach out to one of our offices in Leesburg, Midlothian, Petersburg, Hopewell, Reston, Winchester, or Richmond.