Utah nonprofit group attempts to change alcohol laws

Oct 14, 2013

Utah’s blood-alcohol level laws may become stricter with the support of a conservative nonprofit organization.

The Sutherland Institute advocates a change in Utah's blood-alcohol level laws.

Wednesday, the Sutherland Institute will support an address by alcohol policy and safety researcher James Fell to Utah’s congress  as he proposes changing Utah’s legal blood-alcohol level from .08 to .05 percent.

"Once you hit this .05 level there is significant impairments on driving abilities," said Derek Monson, director of Public Policy at the Sutherland Institute. "We'd like to have them have an ability to process information quickly, to have their reflexes respond as quickly as possible when something crazy happens like if they get cut off in traffic or somebody quickly hits their brakes."

Earlier this year, a national public safety board advised all states to consider lowering their legal blood- alcohol levels to .05 percent.

"The fact is that this change would not make it illegal for people to go out and drink in most situations and then drive," said Monson. "It would make it illegal for them to go out and drink heavily or solely consume alcohol and then go drive, but that's exactly why we have controls on alcohol."

If considered for legislation Utah would be the first state to take the national safety board’s advice that all states lower legal blood-alcohol levels to .05 percent.

Taylor Halversen is a senior at Utah State University, majoring in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts. She's from Sandy, Utah and is interested in discovering new and random things to try and attempting to live life wholly and healthily. She loves music and climbing anything from trees to mountains.