I was disappointed by The Salt Lake Tribune’s Jan. 7 editorial, “Utah’s BAC experiment commences,” which seems to cast doubt on the lifesaving 0.05 blood alcohol content law.
A 0.05 law is no experiment. It is a proven intervention recommended by the NTSB and the National Academies of Science.
The authors want arrest data for 0.05-to-0.079 BACs, but this ignores the fact that impaired drivers are discouraged from getting behind the wheel in the first place. A 0.05 BAC law won’t necessarily increase arrests, but it would save 1,500 people annually if all states followed Utah’s lead.
The editorial echoes the false claims of anti-safety lobbyists who say the law curbs drinking when, in reality, it curbs impaired driving. In 0.05 countries (France, Japan, Australia, many others), alcohol consumption is equal to or higher than the U.S., yet drunken driving deaths are lower. They drink more but die less!
The editorial urges us to listen to “cold, hard information, rather than any preconceived ideas.” As a scientist, I agree. The information is clear: A 0.05 BAC law saves lives by separating drinking from driving. Utahns should be proud that they are, once again, leading the nation by using a proven intervention to prevent drunken driving deaths.
T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, Washington, D.C.