The history of drunk driving in this country — and, indeed, all over the world — is a long and storied one. It wasn’t until 1998 that President Clinton demanded a change to prevent the many tragic and unnecessary alcohol-related deaths and injuries that occurred each year on American roads: a legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of .08% was set and enforced nationwide.
The state of Utah recently decided that he didn’t go far enough. As of December 30th, 2018, the salty state lowered the BAC limit to .05%, imposing the strictest drunk driving limit in the entire country. It’s no surprise that the change came the day before New Year’s Eve, one of the most alcohol-laden nights of the year.
It’s been a long time coming,” said Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, who sponsored the original legislation that passed in 2017. “It’s good to have it take effect so we can have the public safety benefit.”
Not everyone saw the change as a positive one: Thurston received angry phone calls, emails, and even negative advertisements, but he has endured on the belief that the .08% law made individuals believe that it was okay to drink and drive if they weren’t completely intoxicated.
“Impairment begins with the first drink,” he said, “and if you are drinking, don’t drive.”
And the U.S. certainly loves to drink. In 2016, it was estimated that 949 million gallons of wine were consumed by thirsty Americans. In fact, red wine is actually recommended as a part of a healthy and well-rounded diet.
Red wine contains resveratrol, a chemical compound produced by plants that acts similarly to antioxidants. This means that exposure can prevent damage to blood vessels (especially those in your heart), lower cholesterol, and even reduce the chance of blood clots thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Among those health benefits is, some believe, access to the fountain of youth.
Because it behaves like an antioxidant, resveratrol can neutralize free radicals, which are believed to cause aging. This has led hair loss sufferers — 60% of which would rather have hair than money or friends — to depend on the miracle cure. Whether they’re downing it after dinner or rubbing it on their heads, the potential health benefits (specifically related to hair recovery) of red wine have undoubtedly led people to consume more of the flavorful fluid than they normally would.
The cost of a DUI can reach up to $20,000; though Utah’s new law may more seriously enforce the repercussions associated with such a severe crime, it may not be able to handle the root of the problem. From overconfidence to the hair-saving benefits of resveratrol, one thing is for certain: if you drink past your .05% limit, the Utah State Police won’t go easy.