Safety

Utah Gears up to Implement Nation’s Lowest DUI Limit

DUI LimitUtah has lowered its DUI threshold to 0.05 percent from 0.08 percent, despite protests that it will punish responsible drinkers and hurt the state’s tourism industry by adding to the reputation that the predominantly Mormon state is unfriendly to those who drink alcohol.

For Utah lawmakers, the easily approved change is a safety measure aimed at encouraging people not to drive at all if they’ve been drinking. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also backs the change, and many in the hospitality industry are concerned that other states will follow suit.

NTSB member Bella Dinh-Zarr countered that fears about the law are overblown. Nearly 100 countries have a similar limit, and it hasn’t correlated with less drinking per-capita. Federally funded research indicates the standard could save some 1,500 lives a year if adopted around the U.S., she said.

With the increased use of ride-sharing apps, many people going out for a night on the town don’t set foot in their own cars. In Utah, DUI arrests have fallen more than 50 percent over the past seven years despite a growing population, according to state figures.

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