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Utah Getting Strictest Drunken Driving Threshold In The Country

SALT LAKE CITY – On Thursday, a bill was signed by Utah’s governor, which will give Mormon state the strictest drunken driving threshold in the country.

According to individuals running restaurants and snowboard industry, this bill will affect the tourism industry negatively.

Reducing the BAC level limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent will save lives, said Republican Gov. Gary Herbert.

It is said that the BAC level of a person with a weight of 150 pounds will reach the legal limit after consuming just 2 beers and an individual with the weight of 120 pounds will reach the legal limit after consuming just one drink.

A group which is not in favor of the bill shared the view that individuals who choose to drink and drive will be punished according to the bill, but it will affect the reputation of the state negatively by showing that the place is not good for drinking lovers.

The governor said about the bill, “People are going to try to say this is a religious issue. And that is just absolutely false. This is a public safety issue.”

Individuals operating restaurants shared their opinion about the bill that they are not in favor of drinking and getting behind the wheel, but the BAC 0.05 percent limit won’t catch drivers who are actually intoxicated.

According to American Beverage Institute executive director, Sarah Longwell, it is “a total attack on the state’s hospitality industry, customers and the tourism industry.”

On Thursday, ads were seen in newspapers with a fake mugshot under a large headline saying, “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation.”

Individuals who are in favor of the bill said that the bill sends a message not to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel no matter how little somebody has consumed because it is dangerous and can affect the life of many.

The bill was supported by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. They said that the bill is a sensible solution to stop driving under the influence of alcohol.

Rep. Norm Thurston, who introduced the bill said, if anyone is not intoxicated, he/she will not violate the law. Cops will not ask for testing the BAC level if someone is not showing signs of intoxication and fails the field sobriety test. He also added that Utah was the first state to reduce the BAC level to 0.08 percent back in 1983 and tourism has increased after that decision.

Utah’s Tourism Office said the law never discouraged visitors and many countries such as France and Italy have similar laws where tourists like to go.

In the United States, the BAC level for most drivers is 0.08 percent, but limits are different in different states, specially for DUI offenders.

The National Transportation Safety Board has encouraged states to reduce their BAC level limit to 0.05 percent or even lower, but the hospitality industry has issues with it.

Herbert added that he has decided to call lawmakers into a special legislative session this summer 2017 to make changes in the law. He wants legislators to consider a tiered punishment system with less stringent punishments.

The rate of deadly DUI crashes in Utah is less than other states and the number of individuals taken into custody for DUI is also low.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is neutral about the bill. J.T. Griffin, a government affairs officer for the group said, “Counter measures that work, such as ignition interlock laws for all drunk driving offenders and sobriety checkpoints.”

On 30th December 2018, the law will be implemented in Utah just before New Year eve.

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