Utah's Strict New DUI Limit Also Applies to Gun Owners

And they're not happy about it
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2017 1:48 PM CDT
Utah Lowers Drunken Driving Limit to 0.05 BAC
A Utah Highway Patrol trooper questions a driver in 2014.   (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Leah Hogsten)

On Thursday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the country's toughest drunk driving cutoff into law. The AP reports the new law lowers the legal limit from 0.08 to 0.05 BAC, or approximately two beers for a 150-pound man and one beer for a 120-pound woman. The National Transportation Safety Board wants the rest of the states to follow in Utah's footsteps. Here's what you need to know:

  • It's unclear how much of a practical effect the change will have, as the Deseret News reports most people involved in fatal drunk driving accidents in Utah were far above the 0.08 limit. Out of 31 such accidents in 2015, 23 involved drivers at least twice the legal 0.08 BAC limit.
  • NPR reports the new law will also impact gun owners because Utah's drunk-driving limits also apply to people carrying dangerous weapons. One gun advocate calls it an "ugly hidden Easter egg for gun owners."
  • The new law was strenuously opposed by restaurants and the ski industry in Utah, the Washington Post reports. "Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation," read an ad against the bill that was run by the American Beverage Institute.
  • The Salt Lake Tribune's Robert Gehrke filmed himself and others getting drunk to test the new limits. He found women hit 0.05 BAC after two drinks in an hour, and men crossed the line after three drinks in an hour.
  • Despite being signed into law, Utah's new 0.05 limit isn't set in stone. Utah Policy reports Gov. Herbert plans to call a special legislative session this summer to let lawmakers tweak it if needed.
(More drunk driving stories.)

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