Governor Herbert says he will sign bill to lower blood alcohol limit

Mar 25, 2017, 00:59
Governor Herbert says he will sign bill to lower blood alcohol limit

Gary Herbert said today that he will sign a controversial bill to make Utah's laws on drunken driving the toughest in the nation. Phone calls to the governor's office as of Monday reportedly urged the governor to veto the bill by a nine-to-one margin, and local bar and restaurant associations said the bill could harm tourism.

The new law sets the blood alcohol level at 0.05 percent as the standard for impairment, report the Washington Post and the Salt Lake Tribune.

In a statement issued on Thursday Governor Herbert said the bill would improve road safety in the region.

The governors say they support the plan's more flexible Medicaid program and phased-in transition from Obama's law.

Acknowledging those statistics, Herbert said he wants to see lawmakers toughen penalties for distracted driving and increase enforcement of existing traffic safety laws.

"As recently as previous year, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all states drop blood alcohol levels down to.05, to deter more people from drinking and driving".

"There's not many Mormons in Rome, and they do this, too", Herbert said.

Utah's new threshold would take effect on December 30, 2018.

Across the country, the blood-alcohol content limit for most drivers is 0.08, but limits vary among states for commercial drivers or drivers who have had a past DUI conviction.

Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr is the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

The governor said a special session will be called to discuss possible amendments to the bill.

The change means a 150-pound man would be over the 0.05 limit after two beers, while a 120-pound woman could exceed it after a single drink, though that can be affected by a number of factors, including how much food a person has eaten, according to the American Beverage Institute (ABI), a national restaurant group. Those countries haven't suffered a drop in tourism as a result of their standard, and neither will Utah, he said.

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