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State representative working to lower legal blood alcohol content levels

State representative working to lower legal blood alcohol content levels (File photo: AP)

(KUTV) — A Utah state representative is preparing to sponsor legislation that would lower the state’s legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels for driving under the influence from 0.08 to 0.05.

Rep. Norm Thurston of District 64 would sponsor the legislation for the upcoming 2017 General Session and would apply it to all drivers in the general population, according to a press release from the Utah House of Representatives.

“It’s a needed change for the whole country," Thurston said in a prepared statement. "Lowering the legal limit will help reduce deaths, injuries and losses related to alcohol-impaired driving. More drivers will become aware that there is a significant increase in risk that occurs well before reaching 0.08.”

The statement goes on to point out legal limits at or below 0.05 are common in many European countries, and that some countries even have a 0.00 BAC limit.

In the United States, every state considers driving with a BAC at or above 0.08 as a crime. Commercial drivers can't register above a 0.04.

Thurston said in the statement he's confident "implementing this new standard can be done with minimal disruption to current law enforcement procedures..."

Some support the idea.

But not everybody is excited about the proposition.

Connor Boyack, President of the Libertas Institute, criticized the idea in a tweet Friday morning.

The Utah Department of Health reports drunk driving is the fourth most common cause of fatal crashes in the state, following speed, unrestrained occupants and failure to maintain in the proper lane.

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