Utah To Enact Strictest DUI Law In Nation, Lowering BAC Limit To .05

A new law set to take effect in Utah before the New Year will lower the BAC limit for drunk driving by 40% to .05. Will the rest of the nation follow?

Utah is about to enact the strictest DUI law in the nation:

In Utah, ringing in 2019 may include one less call for alcohol.

Just before New Year’s Eve, the state will begin enforcing the strictest drunken-driving regulation in the country when it officially lowers the allowable blood-alcohol content limit to .05. The move comes as the Utah authorities report an average of 30 D.U.I. arrests every day and as states nationwide struggle to prevent the deaths of motorists.

Advocates for the new law, set to go into effect on Dec. 30, say they hope it prompts other states to adopt more restrictive measures, despite fervent opposition from the alcohol industry. Although drunken-driving-related deaths in the United States have steadily declined over the past three decades, around 29 people die every day in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, nearly 11,000 people were killed in crashes involving drunken drivers, accounting for more than a quarter of all vehicle deaths nationwide.

Last year, Utah had the lowest number of alcohol-related traffic deaths of any state, in large part because of heavy restrictions on alcohol consumption, including limits on the strength of beer and a ban on the personal import and transport of alcohol from other states. But driving under the influence continues to be a problem, the Utah authorities said.

“Despite decades of public campaigns and other efforts to discourage driving after drinking, survey and observational data show that many people continue to do so,” the Utah Department of Public Safety said in a statement on the new law, adding that more than 54,400 people have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol over the last five years.

The department said Utah law enforcement agencies were required to complete refresher training on field sobriety testing as part of the new measure, which was signed into law last year.

This law, scheduled to go into effect just in time for New Year’s Eve on December 30th, will mean that Utah will become the state with the strictest DUI law in the country, at least as far as you measure it based on what is considered intoxicated driving under the law. In all other states, the law places the blood alcohol limit at .08 for noncommercial drivers over the age of 21 (in most states, the standards are much tougher for commercial drivers and for those caught driving with any alcohol in their system while being under the legal drinking age of 21). This essentially became a national standard in 2000 via Congressional legislation that essentially enforces itself by denying Federal highway funds to any state that had a BAC limit above .08. By that time, though, most states had already changed their laws to account for the lower limit thanks to lobbying from highway safety advocates and groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Previously, the long-standard BAC limit had been .10, but that had slowly begun to change as lobbying for the lower limit spread nationwide. Perhaps significantly, the first state to adopt .08 as the BAC limit for drunk driving was Utah, which changed its laws to account for that lower level all the way back in 1983.

The movement to lower the BAC limit even further goes back many years, though. In 2013, for example, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all states lower their BAC limit to .05, arguing that such a change would save as many as 1,800 lives per year. At the time, even groups such as MADD were skeptical of the idea of lowering the BAC limit by 40%, a move that would mean that  160-pound man who consumes two drinks in an hour, or a 100-pound woman who just has one, would be considered legally intoxicated. Instead, many of these groups argued at the time that other changes in the law, or mandatory technology that would make it more difficult for an intoxicated person to operate a motor vehicle, would be better ways of keeping people safe than changing the law to provide for a lower level that will likely result, at least initially, in more people being convicted of DUI offenses, with all the consequences that come from that. As it turned out, that initial NTSB push for a lower BAC limit was resisted at the state level and within a few months after it began it appeared as if the campaign had petered out. As we can see in Utah, though, the reality is that the campaign continued and now one has to wonder if the Beehive State will once again be a harbinger of things to come.

Lowering the BAC to .05 would be a radical change in the law for the United States, but it would not be unprecedented. At this point, nearly 100 counties, including most of Europe, have a .05 BAC limit, although in some cases the punishment for BAC limits between .05 and .08 are generally lower than what they’d likely end up being in the United States. In some nations, the limit is even lower than .05, with limits of .02 not being uncommon in some nations. Those nations with a .05 or lower limit do have lower alcohol-related deaths even though their alcohol consumption per capita is similar to, or higher than, the levels of such consumption in the United States. On the other side of the argument, the American Beverage Institute, which represents restaurants and bars, argues that changing the law to the lower BAC limit would do little to save lives

Back when this was all being considered for the first time, Jazz Shaw at Hot Air made a good point that’s worth repeating:

There is another factor to consider here when evaluating something like the nearly 40% reduction in the acceptable BAC limit that’s being proposed here, and that’s whether it might be unfair to people who are generally not malevolent. As I noted above, a DUI conviction now carries with it serious legal consequences, and there’s every reason to believe that this will continue to be the case if the BAC limit is lowered to .05. Indeed, some of the other recommendations that are being made would actually increase the penalties for even a first offense DUI, including things such as requiring everyone convicted of a DUI to have an ignition interlock device installed in their car that would require them to pass a breathalyzer test in order to start the vehicle. Do we really want to subject a whole new group of people to these penalties? I’m not here to defend drunk driving, but it strikes me that it might be better to focus our efforts on the heavy drinkers and repeat offenders that are the real danger on the road rather than diverting police resources toward drivers who may be a little buzzed but aren’t really very impaired.

Some of the more radical activists against drunk driving have suggested that any amount of alcohol in a person’s blood should be grounds or a DUI charge. That, of course, is completely absurd. For one thing, it’s rather obvious that there are amounts of alcohol that can be consumed without having any real impact on driving ability. For another, it would be a tremendous burden on police and court resources to prosecute everyone that fell into this trap. Instead, we ought to be concentrating on serious offenders as well as taking a look at other forms of impaired driving that don’t involve the consumption of alcohol at all, and which can be just a deadly under the proper circumstances.

Perhaps some states will follow Utah’s example and adopt a .05 limit in the future. Colorado, for example, already has a law which provides that someone who has a BAC between .05 and .08 can be charged with an offense called “Driving While Ability Impaired.” [PDF] However, the penalties for that offense are far less than they would be for the “Driving Under The Influence” charge that could be brought if they blow above .08. A first offense DUI in Colorado, for example, leads to at least a nine-month suspension of one’s driver’s license. A first offense DWAI, on the other hand, leads only to eight points on one’s driver’s license with no suspensions, although there are fines, community service, and possible jail time associated with a conviction. Subsequent convictions, for either DWAI or DUI, lead to far more serious consequences. Perhaps this is the path that other states should follow. Rather than making a BAC between .05 and .08 additional grounds for a DUI charge, a slightly less serious offense could be created that, hopefully, would serve as a warning and a lesson to people who might be in danger of more serious impaired driving in the future. That would seem to be a much better approach than the iron fist approach that lowering the DUI limit seems to be and, indeed it would be helpful to see some data from Colorado about how DWAI arrests and convictions have influenced driving behavior. Additionally, before any other states jump on the .05 bandwagon, we should wait and see what impact it actually has in Utah. Granted, the statistics in that state may not be entirely conclusive given the fact that a large segment of its population consists of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who don’t drink at all, but there is a sizable non-Mormon population, as well as tourists from other states who visit the state. Given that, it will be interesting to see if the benefits from this change in the law outweigh the costs it imposes on drivers and on law enforcement.



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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    I’d like to see data showing there is a statistically significant difference in the accident rates for people with bacs and between .05 and .08 vs people with the ACA below .05.

    Otherwise this seems more like neotemperance activists using drunk driving as an excuse to further their actual goal of reinstating prohibition.

  2. @Stormy Dragon:

    The NTSB did a study in 2013 purporting to find that lowering the BAC limit would save up 1800 lives per year

  3. Kathy says:

    Years ago I used to get together with some friends at a bar around 6 pm (I think) for happy hour (2 for 1). We’d have two to four drinks each over the course of an hour and a half, then we had supper at the attached restaurant, then we had coffee. Usually we left around 10-11 pm.

    By then I felt clear-headed enough to drive, but I’m sure there was still some alcohol circulating. It just doesn’t metabolize that quickly. I don’t think I’d pass a test a checkpoint if the limit were 0.05.

  4. Douglas says:

    I suspect big increase in criminalizations and modest, decrease in alcohol related accidents

    There may better stats – this is my quick Google.

    Percent of all alcohol related fatal car accidents
    14% BAC .01 to .07
    26% BAC ,08 to ,14
    60% BAC .15+

    (63% of fatal car accidents had BAC = 0.0)

  5. Teve says:

    @Kathy: 2 drinks in an hour will get you to .05. that’s a ridiculous number, and it’s no surprise it’s Utah that’s pushing it.

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m, still fine. I never drink more than two glasses of wine over the course of an hour and a half dinner. At my weight that leaves me around a 0.02 BAC. On occasions when I want to be able to have a cocktail or a whisky I use Lyft. For a long time Americans – contra most Europeans – had the excuse that we lack public transport. But Lyft and Uber are in effect public transport. In any major city a ride is five minutes away.

    I also don’t drive high though the accident stats suggest very little if any connection between pot smoking and car accidents. It’s serious business driving two tons of steel around at 60 or 70 mph and people should take it seriously. It’s not just that you might injure or kill yourself, there’s your passengers and innocent people to consider. Do you want to live the rest of your life knowing you killed someone’s child?

    That said this is absolutely Mormons ramming their religion down everyone else’s throat. I’d be more upset were it not for the fact that I despise drunk drivers.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: A year ago I was showing my sister Lyft and Uber. She had recently suffered a stroke and driving was not really an option. This was in an Illinois town within commuting distance of two major universities and many government buildings. At first I thought something was wrong and then realized that there were simply no drivers registering. When I moved the pickup point to Chicago there were the hundreds I expected. So, unless its changed, towns outside of major urban areas might not have any realistic transportation outside of personal vehicle.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    On another note, my brother and I go through a thought experiment from time to time on how self driving cars might change the landscape. Things like “Attached garages being converted into extra space or rental apartments while the car goes into a shed with 1 inch clearance on all sides and the top.” Or, “The end of the agonizing transition where the kids have to get the keys away from an aging parent.” But one thing that has stuck in my mind for a while is that we will have a transition period wherein there will be an awful lot of obnoxious drunks at bars and restaurants. It will gradually return to normal, as demonstrated by big city venues where most of the clientele are within walking distance. But there will be a helluva transition period…

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    The opportunity here for selective and discriminatory enforcement is rife. As a society we have enough issues related to discriminatory enforcement, we don’t need to make it worse.

    I do believe the efforts would be better spent getting the chronic drunks off the road. Pretty regularly the local news has an article on someone with multiple DUI arrests still out driving, despite a suspended license.

  10. Kathy says:


    I usually had two drinks. I wouldn’t have wanted to drive right after having them. a few hours later after dinner and coffee, it was different.

    When I go to Vegas I don’t rent a car. For tourists, at least, Vegas has pretty good public transportation. That way I don’t have to worry about drinking.

    Not that I drink much. I haven’t gotten drunk since 1985. But given the abundance of free drinks, well, sometimes I’ll go to Bellagio or Wynn and play a few hands of Pai Gow poker just to get a better quality Black Russian or white wine.

  11. Robert in SF says:

    Why is some arbitrary number (even if derived from stats) an indicator here? There are people who are just terrible drivers, and others who are driving while distracted by the radio, the phone, their passengers, eating, drinking, reading (!), lack of sleep, etc.. Older people have worse reaction times (at best, deteriorated from their younger reaction times).

    There are countless reasons to consider someone driving while impaired…who sets the standard for what is allowable when it comes to the threshold for driving competency?

    Maybe we should have driving tests for *all* drivers, through an obstacle/challenge course to get your license, repeated each year, and with the option to have 2-3 drinks in an hour for the test to allow for a personalized BAC level?

  12. MarkedMan says:


    I’ll go to Bellagio or Wynn and play a few hands of Pai Gow poker just to get a better quality Black Russian or white wine.

    OK, naive question here. I’ve been to Vegas a dozen or so times for conferences and of course stayed in casino hotels (are there any other kind?) but only placed two bets and those where within a few minutes of each other on my first trip there. I’ve heard about all these free drinks and cheap shows and all the other stuff, but how exactly do you get them? My first time there I had just seen Ray Charles at an outdoor venue in Baltimore for $15 and saw that he was playing at one of the Casinos and thought it was a great opportunity until I learned that the cheapest ticket was more than $100, and this was in the early nineties when I could have seen him at a classical concert hall for $40.

  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    Vegas is a lot more expensive than it used to be as an increasing percentage of the visitors aren’t gamblers nowadays.

    To get free drinks you need to be gambling for a while, and it’s usually easier to get them at table games than at slots.

    My only personal experience is at poker tables, but every so often a waitress will come around and ask if they can get you anything.

  14. Kathy says:


    Free drinks are easy. Just sit at a table, or a slot machine (including VP), and any passing server will fetch you one. It’s good manners to tip at least $1 per drink, $2 is even better; and you can tip with chips (just make sure they’re for the casino you’re at).

    Cheap shows are a thing of the past, or so I’m told (I first went to vegas in 2008). There are a few locations for an outfit called Tix4Tonight (I think), which sells show tickets at a discount (also buffet tickets for some reason).

    In seven trips, I’ve seen three shows: Penn & Teller, Rita Rudner, and Olivia Newton John (one of the highlights of my life). I used the Tix4Tonight service for the latter show, and had no issues at all. I don’t recall how big the discounts are. the downside is they mostly sell tickets for the same day (ergo the name). Oh, and you don’t get a ticket per se. You get a vouched you then exchange for a ticket at the casino’s box office.

  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    I discovered a few years ago that Teller is my cousin – his mother is the sister of my maternal grandmother, I have no idea what degree of cousinhood that is. I must have run into him at some point at some family function but I don’t remember people.

  16. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:


    I got his autograph after the show, and pestered him with a silly question about Babylon 5 (they were in one episode).

  17. KM says:

    I’ve always wondered why cars don’t just have anti-drunk driving tech installed as a matter of course. If we were really serious about ending that menace, some enterprising soul would have come up with a minimally-invasive way to include in it starting up the car and then got some lobby to concern-troll it into be required by law. The only reason we are even having this conversation on what’s an acceptable level for driving impairment is society has to inconvenience itself via checkpoints and lowering BAC limits rather then being inconvenienced whenever you turn on your car.

    Instead, a state with a ton of non-drinkers is going to keep lowering the bar as far as they can away with. At least with the tech, you’d get push-back from the car companies to help stall legislation like this.

  18. Stormy Dragon says:


    “Because it tells me to”

  19. Stormy Dragon says:


    Because breathalyzers actually have a very high rate of false positives, and that would become obvious to the public if they were universally mandated.

  20. Bill says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I discovered a few years ago that Teller is my cousin – his mother is the sister of my maternal grandmother, I have no idea what degree of cousinhood that is.

    My late father owned harness race horses for many years. At the time of his retirement, Catello ‘Cat Man’ Manzi was the 2nd winningest driver in Harness Racing history. He is also my cousin (Whether by blood or marriage I don’t know) but my father never had horses with him. The only times I remember meeting Cat were at the funerals of my paternal grandparents. The latter of which was in 1976.

    I don’t drink nor does my wife. Changes to DUI laws have no effect on me. Now if something can be done about distracted drivers like the 28 year old lady who hit me ( I was right in front of them and I had enough time to bang on the hood of their SUV after their first lurch forward and she still hit me. At 6’1, I am not a small person either) when I was out walking a year ago………

  21. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    To get free drinks you need to be gambling for a while, and it’s usually easier to get them at table games than at slots.

    It depends on the place. Usually when a server comes to the table to deliver drinks, they’ll take orders from anyone at the table. Ditto if they are flagged to take orders.

    At The D, I was at the Deuces Wild machine so often, the servers all knew me. They always came by soon after I sat down to play, and asked whether I wanted coffee or a Black Russian (my usual).

    Getting free drinks sitting at a casino bar is different. There the bartender may check whether you’re playing a bar top slot machine or not. I don’t often sit down at the bar, but I do play VP when I do. Bar top machines have the worst pay tables, but sometimes you want to sit with a friend and talk.

    The few times I did that, I got the drinks free. But I’ve known people who are charged for them. Oh, and this applies only at bars in the casino floor. Stand-alone bars or restaurants, even within a hotel with a casino, don’t give away drinks even if you play bar top slots.

  22. Stormy Dragon says:


    If I may ask, how much per spin do the slot machines you use average? Ultimately the actual determining factor is how much money you’re putting into the casino; more money = more free drinks. From what I’ve heard table players get more than slot players, but that could be because the only slot players I know tend to prefer really cheap machines.

  23. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Wasn’t that creepy? I mean, they were supposed to be a comedy team.

  24. Gustopher says:

    Last year, Utah had the lowest number of alcohol-related traffic deaths of any state, in large part because of heavy restrictions on alcohol consumption, including limits on the strength of beer

    Living in Seattle, land of the 7.5% IPA and the 10% Winter Warmers being served in 20oz imperial pints… I’m not unsympathetic to laws limiting the strength of beer. I would go with serving size limits in bars and restaurants, rather than limiting the alcohol.

    I would aso make the first DUI a Stern Warning Offense, rather than a Serious Crime, as that ends up being what happens for wealthier people here anyway. Misjudging limits shouldn’t be life altering, it should be an opportunity to learn, and reflect that you’re lucky you didn’t kill anyone.

    Some education and some PITA hoops to jump through, but no suspension of license or large fine. People need to get to work, and too many end up having to drive anyway, and then get into much worse trouble if they get pulled over for some minor traffic offense, and that affects their families. We end up completely screwing up people’s lives over one drink too many or too strong, when we don’t have to.

    I’d be ok with ignition locks if they were cheap enough.

    (And, if they did kill someone, the license suspension is the least of their worries, so the suspension doesn’t really matter)

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    towns outside of major urban areas might not have any realistic transportation outside of personal vehicle.

    This is the rub in DUI as it relates to life in the United States. While I was in Korea, I read an article in the newspaper that described license suspension–any score over 101 results in a 3 year IIRC suspension of one’s license and suspension of license results in confiscation of solely owned vehicles and stiff penalties for “aiding suspended drivers in obtaining cars.” The trick there is that DUI is 99 points, so a parking ticket and a DUI result in a license suspension.

    The other trick there is that nearly everyone lives a bus ride away from where they work and buses run every 10 minutes (subways run every 3, but not every large city has subway systems), so there is no necessary financial impact from a DUI–and companies that have people who travel for their jobs warn them that DUI=termination from employment. I don’t see that such a plan would be practical in the United States; we’re simply too large of a country to not need other DUI systems than license suspension.

    The one time in Korea that my boss got too drunk to risk driving, he hired a driving service to take both him and his car home. A sober man meets you at your bar, drives you home, and the fee covers his taxi fare both ways. One of my coworkers asked him later what that cost–about $200–but my boss said it was worth not having to remember where he’d left his car the next day.

  26. Stormy Dragon says:


    But they were a comedy team!

    It was a brick joke*. Earlier in the episode, Rebo threw up the brick up with his story about how the only time he’d ever heard Zooty speak was to ask “Why?”, and at the end of the episode, the brick comes down with Zooty revealing the answer. 😉

    *-type of joke which results from a story seeming to resolve in a decoy punchline and then a long time later the actual punchline arrives at a totally unexpected moment. Refers to an old vaudville routine where early in an act there would be a joke involving a character throwing a brick up into the air and having it seemingly disappear, only to much later have a completely unrelated joke resolve with a character unexpectedly getting bonked on the head by a brick falling out of the sky for no apparent reason.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Off topic I know (and not an attack on you or your comment), but I find myself wondering how this whole “self-driving car” thing is going to work in a country where most of the population probably lacks the financial resources to buy new cars–like the US? My last car, returning from Korea, is new (and was $20,000 total, so probably less than self-driver base price), but the 5 previous ones were all used and tended to be 10 or more years old. And I’m mostly just tight with a buck rather than needing low cost transportation.

  28. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If you have one of the higher levels of AAA benefits, the road side assistance towing well take you to any location within a certain number of miles rather than the closest mechanic, so there’s an apocryphal story of someone getting super drunk and calling AAA to get towed back home.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Indeed. If you get a good DUI lawyer, his or her first step is to request the service/calibration record for the breathalizer in question. I understand that the second is to request the machine itself for independent testing (naturally enough, large numbers of drivers can’t actually afford to hire these lawyers, but if you’ve got the money and the lawyer, we have the best legal system in the world).

  30. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    At The D with the machine I’ve talked about, I played 25 cents per spin (that’s max bet, BTW). $20 usually lasts an hour or two, deuces wild games hit a lot. If you’re lucky, you hit a royal ($200 payoff) or 4 deuces ($125), and get a hand-pay in cash from a slot attendant. If you’re less lucky, you get lower payoffs that let you play longer.

    At the craps tables at Main Street Station or 4 Queens, I’d buy in for $100. Same at Pai Gow poker. at the poshest Strip casinos, minimum bet is usually $10. Downtown and at more modest places, it’s $5 (Fremont has $2 craps tables, but limit the odds bets to 2X, which makes the lower limit rather pointless).

    In any case, I’ve never been refused a free drink anywhere at any table or video poker machine.

  31. @Michael Reynolds:

    I must have run into him [Teller] at some point at some family function but I don’t remember people.

    He would have been the one not talking to anyone.

  32. wr says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “The one time in Korea that my boss got too drunk to risk driving, he hired a driving service to take both him and his car home. A sober man meets you at your bar, drives you home, and the fee covers his taxi fare both ways.”

    In Beijing there are guys with collapsible bikes. When you call, he shows up, throws his bike in your trunk, drives you home in his car, then takes his bike and rides away…

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: It’s an interesting question. Another: Will the higher prices exacerbate the trend of younger people feeling they never can afford to buy a car? Or will it enable them by allowing 3 or 4 friends to go in together on one vehicle? I have no idea…

    I don’t by any stretch think it will be a uniform good, but I do like to think about unexpected ways it would change our lives and economy, and mess with the current ranking of products. Here’s a good one: who will be the best positioned to sell to the luxury market? Will it be the traditional BMW, Mercedes, etc? I think it might be Buick. Perhaps even more likely is the minivan divisions of Chrysler, Honda and Toyota. Who wants a car with taut suspension and the ability to lane change with a twitch of the steering wheell if you are a passenger? When was the last time you were grateful to a taxi driver because he zoomed around corners?

  34. Kathy says:


    I don’t by any stretch think it will be a uniform good, but I do like to think about unexpected ways it would change our lives and economy, and mess with the current ranking of products.

    That’s an interesting question.

    Suppose you could trust your vehicle to drive you safely from, say, LA to San Francisco (about a 6 hour drive). It would make more sense to drive overnight and sleep on the way, rather than fly, even if you’re returning the same day.

    If you’re going to sleep, though, you’ll want a bed. You’d prefer a bigger vehicle, like an SUV, which could fit something like a lie-flat seat little different from a bed.

    But then it would be nice to have a shower in the morning. maybe you could use an RV, especially if you travel between cities frequently. Sure it costs more and uses more gas, but it might still be cheaper than flying 3-4 times a month.

    Now, you may ask who’d want to drive an RV to work every day? But back in the 90s you might have asked the same thing about SUVs.

  35. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I just thought it was creepy.

    Did you watch any of Crusade? I confess I wouldn’t have if I knew it wouldn’t last one season. There’s a scene with Giddeon conversing with a machine he keeps hidden in his quarters. I don’t think it was related, but it brought the Zooty scene to mind.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: Oh yeah, that would be a lot better for the wallet. Chinese, always innovating!

  37. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    BAC limit of 0.05 is basically the same limit that Brazil uses. And I believe that other countries have similar limits.

  38. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    his mother is the sister of my maternal grandmother

    Your mother and Teller share grandparents. That makes your mother and Teller (first) cousins. That makes you his first cousin once removed.

  39. DrDaveT says:


    Do we really want to subject a whole new group of people to these penalties? I’m not here to defend drunk driving, but it strikes me that it might be better to focus our efforts on the heavy drinkers and repeat offenders that are the real danger on the road

    So, this depends on facts not in evidence — namely, that “the heavy drinkers and repeat offenders” are “the real danger on the road”.

    If that’s true, Jazz has a point. If not, then yeah, he’s just defending drunk driving.

  40. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I’m somewhere about 28 years sober, so, … meh.

  41. Stormy Dragon says:


    Yes. Babylon 5: Crusade is very high on my “series that I as god emperor would force back into production under penalty of death” list. =)

  42. Michael Reynolds says:

    Thanks, I never do understand those things.

  43. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    In that case, you got my vote.

  44. Grumpy realist says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I wonder if fractional ownership will make a comeback? If cars get robotic enough, you just call it, wobble out of the bar,mutter “home, James!” And pass out gracefully in the back seat while your robotic minion dutifully trundles you home…

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    With the bottom of the second income quintile at about $30k, I’m not sanguine about fractional ownership of cars even being possible. But that dam will have to burst eventually. I’m probably not young enough to see it happen. You may not be either based on what I estimate your age to be.

  46. KM says:


    If that’s true, Jazz has a point. If not, then yeah, he’s just defending drunk driving.

    What’s happening here is everyone is defending where they think “drunk driving” should start to “count”. Drunk driving is driving while drunk (QED, no?) but for far too many, drunk is a subjective, situational state instead of a legally quantifiable one. It’s kinda like speeding – even one mile over is illegal and should be subject to punishment because the point of a limit is it’s a cutoff from acceptable to non-acceptable. However, every single person caught for speeding will tell you the REAL problem is that asshat doing 90 in a 45 so the officer was a complete jerk for busting you going 40 in a 30. You might admit what you did is dangerous but that’s not the point: the point is you broke the law. Gradation of punishment is for severity of the deviation from the limit, not how dangerous you felt you were being. Nobody sitting in traffic court feels grateful they were apprehended for endangering lives but 99.9% are pissed that the cops nabbed them.

    Lower the BAC will cause a lot more people to break the law and consider themselves to be unfairly punished. They’re not going to care about potential lives saved, they’re going to care about checkpoints and be furious they can’t have that second or third drink they wanted. I suspected they’ll likely see an increase in impaired driving overall as people will disregard it as “unfair” and treat it like speeding’s mythical 5 mile margin the cops will let you pass on.

  47. Matt says:

    speeding’s mythical 5 mile margin the cops will let you pass on.

    I attribute a lot of that myth to passenger production cars generally overstating their speed. Every car I’ve tested with radar and GPS has shown a couple extra MPH on the speedometer. Some of my Hondas were dead on 5 MPH faster on the speedo than gps/radar from about 30 up. Of course my sample size is limited to mostly vehicles under $30k. I wouldn’t be surprised if modern sports cars have accurate speedos (especially the pricier ones).

    Most cops won’t bother with someone only a few MPH over the limit as long as there’s nothing else to motivate them.

  48. Kathy says:

    BTW, very late I decided to check the limit allowed in Mexico City. It’s .04.

    Good thing I don’t drink often.