Utah: New standard on alcohol level?

Friday, October 13, 2017
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

pouring beer alcohol consumption 620x300The American Council on Addiction & Alcohol Problems has praised Utah's governor for signing a bill to lower the blood alcohol level for drivers.

ACAAP passed a resolution thanking Governor Gary Herbert (R-Utah) for signing into law a bill there that would lower the blood alcohol level (for determining DUI) from .08 to .05.

"The standard in most if not all states is .08," says ACAAP president Rob Chambers. "What's interesting is that for those with a commercial driver's license the blood alcohol level is .04, but [this] will lower it from .08 to .05 for non-commercial drivers. We commend the governor for signing this piece of legislation, and hopefully this will set the standard for the rest of the states."

Questions have been raised about unintended consequences of the law. FOX13 in Salt Lake City reports concerns from restaurant owners that the law will harm tourism and scare customers away from fear that a glass of wine with dinner could lead to a DUI arrest. They also fear it would make Utah look "weird" when it comes to liquor laws.

A spokesperson for the governor's office confirmed the "questions" to OneNewsNow.com, and the governor's office expects there will be efforts to refine the law during the upcoming General Legislative Session (January-March).

"That said, we do not expect a change to .05% as a standard," the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, the bill's sponsor insists the bill is about saving lives. "The original proposal we put forward was designed to maximize one thing, which was to reduce deaths from drunk driving," Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, told FOX 13.

ACAAP's Chambers says that is his organization's mission as well.

"In 2015, there were over 10,000 people who were killed involving alcohol-impaired drivers," he explains. "That's basically one-third of all traffic violations, so we help people see the correlation between the consumption of alcohol and traffic fatalities."

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