Residents in South Carolina know and understand that driving a vehicle while intoxicated is not only illegal but is also dangerous and irresponsible. There are clear laws in place designed to prevent such behaviors. This, however, does not mean that every person who enjoys a casual drink or two and then drives a vehicle is negligent, careless or a habitual drunk.
In South Carolina, a person may be arrested for and charged with a drunk driving offense if they have a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08 percent. For more than 20 years now, this limit has been recognized as the standard across all states in the nation. It acknowledges that social drinking is an acceptable and normal part of life for many Americans yet provides some framework intended to protect people from unnecessary hazards.
The limit of a 0.08 percent BAC was first put into place in 1983 in Utah, according to National Public Radio, when most states recognized 0.10 percent as the threshold for drunk driving. Over the course of the ensuing two decades, all other states followed Utah’s lead.
Now, Utah once again is the first state in the nation to lower the limit for drunk driving, this time to 0.05 percent. For many women, this BAC may be reached even after only one drink. For an average-sized man, two drinks may put them at or over this limit. The new law takes effect just before New Year’s Eve and while Utah is the only state to make this change to date, it will be worth watching to see if other states do the same in the coming years.