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One State Close to Adopting Toughest DUI Limit in Nation

Utah's BAC limit to be lowered to 0.05% from 0.08% if governor signs off
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2017 2:11 PM CST
Updated Mar 12, 2017 3:24 PM CDT
It Just Got Harder to Legally Drink and Drive in Utah
Drinking and driving just got tougher to do without consequence in Utah.   (Getty Images/AlexRaths)

Rolling out what the AP calls "the toughest DUI limit" in the country, Utah lawmakers have brought a new measure to the governor's desk that would limit a driver's legal blood-alcohol content to 0.05%. House Bill 155—which would go into effect right before New Year's Eve on Dec. 30, 2018, if Gov. Gary Herbert signs off—passed in the state Senate Wednesday, Fox 13 reports. Herbert's office informed the station he would indeed approve the measure. All other states currently have DUI limits set at 0.08% (though the AP notes that limit may vary for commercial drivers and those who have past DUIs), which would make Utah's the lowest in the country once it's given the governor's OK. The National Transportation Safety Board wants all states to follow suit, notes the Salt Lake Tribune.

Republican Rep. Norman Thurston, the bill's sponsor, compares the new limit to lower ones in Canada and some EU countries, asserting the measure will cut down on deaths. But critics say the ceiling—which the American Beverage Institute says a 120-pound woman may hit after just one drink, depending on how much she's eaten—will mar the state's hospitality and tourism industries and make the Mormon-leaning state look more "peculiar" to outsiders, as one senator put it. The managing director of the ABI also argues that most DUI-related deaths are tied to drivers who well exceed legal limits. Still, the law may keep those who've imbibed from "getting behind the wheel in the first place," says GOP Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams. (An alcohol-gauging tat, maybe?)

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