Utah DUI Law: Come For Vacation, Leave On Probation?
Utah's newly-passed drunk driving law has met with stiff opposition from businesses that have launched a new ad campaign warning tourists to stay away from the state. Utah new law lowers the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving under influence (DUI) from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, making it the lowest threshold in the U.S. State lawmakers passed HB155 this year and the law is set to go into effect late next year.
The lower blood alcohol limit is seen as scaring away tourists from other states and hurting Utah's burgeoning tourism industry.
Restaurant trade group American Beverage Institute or ABI ran a full-page advertisement in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that warns Nevada vacationers of the potential to be subjected to DUI charges for having little more than a single drink before driving. Nevada sends the third most tourists to Utah - behind California and Idaho.
The full-page advertisement by ABI features the mugshot of a women who "had one drink with dinner" and is titled "Utah: Come for Vacation, Leave on Probation."
Further, ABI said its new online petition opposing Utah's law has garnered over 1,300 signatures after just 24 hours.
According to data maintained by the Utah Department of Public Safety, offenders with blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 and above have been responsible for 77 percent of alcohol-related fatalities in Utah.
However, ABI said that the new law fails to target the dangerous drunk drivers who cause the vast majority of alcohol related fatalities and instead targets moderate, responsible drinkers.
A 120-pound woman could be subjected to all of the consequences of a DUI charge after having little more than a single drink, while an average 160-pound man could be considered legally drunk after just having two drinks in one hour, ABI noted.
ABI urged Utah lawmakers to "fix their mistake by fully repealing the .05 BAC law in the special legislative session later this summer."
by RTT Staff Writer
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