Recently the founder of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), Candace Lightner took to the Salt Lake Tribune to write an op-ed piece about why she is against Utah’s upcoming DUI law to lower the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to 0.05%.
In her article she brings up new concerns such as distracted driving and driving while high on prescription drugs and legal marijuana in Tooele, Salt Lake City, and throughout the entire state of Utah.
I found some of what Lightner wrote interesting and wanted to share some of her thoughts here with you.
As the opioid crisis metastasizes and marijuana continues to be legalized across the country, drug use is on the rise. And as these substances become more common in everyday life, they also become more common on the road.
While drunk driving remains a serious concern, other threats are mounting on our roadways. According to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, 43 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for some sort of drug, legal or illegal. And with the rise of smartphones and other gadgets, people are distracted more than ever while driving.
Unfortunately, the necessary debate on how to solve these new challenges isn’t happening in earnest. The traffic safety community is distracted by an issue that will do little to save lives: lowering the drunk driving arrest threshold from .08 to .05.
Lightner thinks that Salt Lake City, Tooele, the State of Utah, and the rest of the country should be focusing more on drugged driving and distracted driving, rather than a driver who has had merely one alcoholic beverage.
I’m pleased that the organization I founded isn’t one of the groups pursuing the new lower alcohol limit strategy. But that hasn’t stopped states like Utah from passing legislation to arrest drivers who are at .05.
This has kicked off a national conversation about whether or not it makes sense to put someone in jail for not much more than a single drink (it doesn’t). If we are getting into that level of impairment then we should logically be jailing people for cell phone use while driving. The debate needs to focus on how we’re going to manage this new world of endlessly distracting gadgets and the legalization of marijuana.
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