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Utah recently passed legislation reducing the permissible blood alcohol content to operate a vehicle from .08% to .05%. Utah is the first state in the country that has taken this step.

The federal government has already taken the stance that all states should reduce their legal limit of blood alcohol content to drive a vehicle.

With Utah’s lead, there is a good chance that other states will follow suit. I would not be surprised if you heard in the coming years that Ohio legislators are considering a similar reduction in the legal limit of blood alcohol content.

So the question remains the same, how much alcohol is too much to drive? This can mean two separate things. What amount do you have to consume to be under the legal limit? What amount do you have to consume to be a safe responsible driver? Many people answer those two questions differently, but the answer is simple: it depends. Everybody is different. In that same thought, every day is different. Alcohol is not metabolized the same from person to person, and from day to day, depending on a number of circumstances. Circumstances that can’t necessarily be predicted. There are guidelines and charts that you can find on the internet, but these are really just educated guesses that cannot possibly factor in all the factors that lead to metabolization of alcohol in a person’s body.

With Ohio’s recent ignition interlock device changes to the OVI law, there are arguments that such changes will better protect the community rather than reducing the legal limit. Some fear that reducing the legal limit only penalizes perfectly responsible activity, as there is no corresponding link between impairment and a lower level of alcohol in a person’s body.

With so much at stake, responsibility is key. Each person will have to monitor their own actions and determine if they want to ‘roll the dice’ after consuming alcohol and getting behind the wheel. And with a lower blood alcohol limit, the legal risk is greater, meaning that one drink could potentially get you arrested.

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