Study: Utah’s .05 Alcohol Limit Will Save Lives.

utah-alcohol-limitThe manufactured outrage continues as researchers in Chicago announce a new report showing that the lower Utah alcohol limit of .05 percent would save 1,800 lives per year.

The research, by the nonpartisan organization NORC at the University of Chicago, was published in the journal Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research.

The study is a meta-analysis of international studies on how lowering the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit works to prevent alcohol-related crashes. The study found that, when the limit was lowered from .08 to .05 percent, fatal crashes declined by an average of 11 percent.

The conclusion is a straightforward espousal of lower BAC limits to prevent loss of life:

This study provides strong evidence of the relationship between lowering the BAC limit for driving and the general deterrent effect on alcohol-related crashes.

Who’s Impressed. Who’s Not.

These findings would tend to back up the claim that Utah is out to save lives by adopting the lower .05 limit. The manufactured outrage we mentioned earlier is coming from those who believe – as yet without much evidence – that their livelihood is affected by the change. In particular, the alcohol lobby is predicting that Utah will suffer mightily as revelers spend their tourism dollars elsewhere.

The lobby insists – again, without evidence – that people are not drunk at the .05 level, despite plenty of research that enough impairment occurs at the .05 level to make a driver unable to respond quickly to road hazards.

No, the research is in, and the new Utah alcohol limit will work out just fine. The odd beer will not get ordered, but somehow the alcohol and hospitality industries will survive. And as we said before, are you really that eager to attract tourists who only visit places because they’re easy on drunk driving?

In any case, if driving over .05 isn’t dangerous,  one has to wonder how those extra 1,800 lives are being lost each year.