A recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board to lower the blood alcohol content level for DUI arrests from .08 to .05 percent is an unneeded change to current law.
In Ogden and other parts of Utah, DUI arrests have been trending downward. That is a consequence of residents being more aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as the criminal consequences.
According to the state's 2012 DUI report to legislators, the average blood alcohol content level for a person arrested for DUI in Utah was .14, way above the legal limit of .08. Only 5.9 percent of those arrested fell under the .08 level. The change to .05 is simply not needed.
So why make this change, then? It seems to us that it's based more on a disapproval of drinking than drinking and driving. Law enforcement officers will not change the manner in which they pursue DUI suspects, which is to take action based on observing how an individual drives. If a detained driver registers an .08 blood alcohol content level, it's pretty clear that the individual is driving while impaired, and has broken the law.
In fact, as noted, most persons arrested for DUI have blood alcohol contents higher than .05, or what the law now allows. A change in the law would only make individuals afraid of having a single drink prior to driving.
The idea of many citizens being too fearful of consequences to take even one drink prior to driving may please some law enforcement professionals, and some legislators.
But a law in which one drink could lead to a DUI conviction is too restrictive. A .05 blood alcohol content proposal is unwise because it can be reached, based on an individual's weight if someone has a single drink or two.
However, to reach the .08 blood alcohol content level requires a level of drinking that is, and should always be, illegal for persons driving.