SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Officials say car crashes and traffic deaths dropped in Utah after the state enacted the nation's strictest drunken driving laws.
A study published Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests Utah’s roads became safer after the state lowered the drunken driving threshold to .05% blood-alcohol content.
“There is zero tolerance for impaired driving,” Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Cameron Roden told Scripps station KSTU. “This law is meant to encourage people to make the right decision.”
Crash and fatality rates fell in neighboring states but not as significantly as they did in Utah.
In a state where politics is heavily influenced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the findings are a victory for lawmakers who argued the change was about safety, not religion.
The state lowered the threshold over tourism industry objections.
The NHTSA will share the study with other states contemplating legislation to lower the legal blood-alcohol content level.