Utah to ring in new year with toughest DUI law in the country

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  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 2:39 p.m.

    Most in Europe can drive, but a way higher percentage of Europeans than Americans don't need a car ride to make it to and from a bar or a restaurant they're having a few drinks at between better public transit and more compact towns and cities that put everything closer than our more sprawled out communities in the U.S.

  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 28, 2018 11:50 a.m.

    @pragmatistferlife - Salt Lake City, UT

    You do realize that if you rinse your mouth with Listerine and take the standard breath test that you would fail?

    Just saying

  • ERB Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 7:41 a.m.

    Mainly me had a point. His point was that even though Europe is .05, most people don't own cars. Counter to that, those roads must be empty. Are they? Nope.

  • Akman Santaquin, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 12:20 a.m.

    Well I guess we can treat the killing of another person as murder. No more shading a death with the intent of the actor.

    If you’re high or drunk and kill someone it is a capitol crime.

    That is a reasonable punishment for putting your brain in timeout then driving and killing someone.

    Feeling different is a sign of impairment. People use a quantity of alcohol and or drugs sufficient to feel different. Is this news to anyone?

    Does anyone want their pilot to have a couple before taking off? Your brain surgeon from throwing back a couple of cold ones before opening up your skull? Then why is it acceptable to say,” go ahead turn your driving skills down a couple of notches and then head our to the highway.” Drinking and driving is one of the golden calves of a bygone time.

  • jschirack Sandy, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 6:36 p.m.

    Does the arresting person have the authority to draw blood for the BAC test? If they are relying on a Breathalyzer, they are getting a reading of the alcohol content of the mouth, which can show a reading far different from what the blood reading would be. After a couple of sips of beer or wine, the instrument probably shows 'Dangerous".,, at least that's what the Breathalyzer showed me when I tried it for a test. I would sure hate to see someone get arrested for a false positive after having a few sips of champagne at a toast at his daughter's wedding!

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Dec. 27, 2018 3:51 p.m.

    @T-money$$$ -

    "Yes, the .05 limit is what they go by in many areas of Europe, BUT most Europeans don't drive. Only a slim, slim minority even have a license, and only a fraction of those people own a vehicle."

    It's obvious you've never lived in Europe. I lived in Germany for three years - a country that loves its beer. Ever hear of Octoberfest? It is a celebration of beer and alcohol, yet everyone has a driver's license and drives cars they own. Try driving through NÜrnberg or Stuttgart during rush hour. Some government agencies, like the polizi receive a large amount of funding through fines from traffic violations.

    The penalties for impaired driving are draconian. It is not uncommon to spend €15,000 in total fees to get your license back. These include having to go through a psychological assessment to determine if you are fit to drive and the vast majority of people initially fail that assessment. Then you have to go through a couple years of counseling in the hopes of passing the assessment the second time around, which is not guaranteed. With a second DUI, you can be assured of jail time and most likely will never get your license back for many years, if ever.

  • Delcore Draper, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 2:45 p.m.

    If we take the which two people should we sacrifice argument seriously we would have have to outlaw all human activity. There is no human activity that doesn't involve death. Driving is one of the more dangerous human activities. Raising the speed limit 5 mph has a bigger impact than 2 lives on busy roads. If we only want to be emotional maybe we should just ban all driving. Then maybe the zero fatalities goal could actually be a real goal. Of course banning all driving causes many other problems. Maybe we should be a little less emotional and use a little rationality when debating public policy. I don't drink so this law won't impact me at all. But this same emotional reasoning infects so much of the public debate. When it comes to public safety we don't ever want to admit that we are talking about acceptable risk, but we are. People who don't like alcohol don't see any acceptable risk, and people who enjoy drinking see the enjoyment offsets some of the risk. The clash is were the two parties meet. We are growing more and more intolerant with each other at these kinds of touch points. And we do it and feel good about it by being so emotional about one side and ignoring the other.

  • rlsintx Saratoga Springs, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 1:52 p.m.

    Good law. Hope the rest of the nation gets it soon.

    But please, go hard and deep on the texters and other inattentive driving - I see at least one in a left lane not paying attention and slowing down almost every day on I-15 and Pioneer Crossing in S.S. / Lehi on the way to the freeway to head to Provo.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 1:30 p.m.

    @Black & White
    "Which two people are acceptable to sacrifice for the indulgence of the drinking populous?"

    Maybe the people who like alcohol can borrow the system the people who like guns use for this.

  • T-money$$$ Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 11:58 a.m.

    Several things to note here:

    1) Yes, the .05 limit is what they go by in many areas of Europe, BUT most Europeans don't drive. Only a slim, slim minority even have a license, and only a fraction of those people own a vehicle. In the US, we grow up with a "car culture", and - specifically in western states like Utah - you can't get most places without a car. If we want to discourage drunk driving we should also make sure we have adequate methods of transport (ie. cheaper and more accessible UTA routes)

    2) .05 is very tricky to detect. There will be many people who fail the .05 threshold but who completely pass a sobriety test. Of course cops will need probable cause, but could that be simply watching a patron leave a restaurant or bar and hop in their car afterwards? Private taxis are expensive and even Lyft and Ubers are not cheap -especially on the weekends.

    3) While public safety should always be a concern, it seems the effects of this law will end up hurting lower-income individuals the most - a DUI fee is a slap on the wrist for someone making $50k + a year, but for someone in the $10k-20k range it could be enough to send a family into a lifetime of poverty.

  • bigfred San Angelo, TX
    Dec. 27, 2018 10:55 a.m.

    If you need to drink to excess, that is your right, your prerogative. But doing so does not give you the "right" - which, by the way, driving is a privilege - to get behind the wheel impaired. So please, do not say that texting, et al causes issues, for this article is solely about drinking and driving. You earned the money and spend it as you see fit. But do so without endangering innocent lives, that may be in the way of your 2-ton missile. I heard this for 35 years:, but officer, all I had was 2 beers. Until you have to be the one to knock on a door and tell a young mother that her husband or child will never come home again due to a drunk driver killing them, you will just excuse your selfish behavior, and hope you do not get caught. Save your excuses for the next of kin please. Stay safe, and exercise sound judgement at all times behind the wheel.

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 10:52 a.m.

    "Which two people are acceptable to sacrifice for the indulgence of the drinking populous"

    Couldn't wait for this one.

    You tell me which two (closer to 40 or 50) are worth sacrificing because you won't install photo cop taking pictures of all violators at intersections or highways because it infringes on your privacy, and I'll tell you which two I'll sacrifice for this law.

  • hankel Butte, MT
    Dec. 27, 2018 10:26 a.m.

    The American Beverage Institute ran ads discouraging tourists from traveling to Utah.
    From my standpoint, this is laughable. With a stricter DUI law in Utah, I will feel safer driving in that state and will want to go there more often. I live in Montana, which is number 4 in alcohol consumption and 2nd highest in alcohol related deaths. Do I feel safe on the roads here, in Montana? No! Hurray for Utah!

  • Black & White SLC, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 10:09 a.m.

    Which two people are acceptable to sacrifice for the indulgence of the drinking populous?

    A spouse, mother, father, brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin and/or close friend?

    Or is it anyone except those who choose to drink & drive, or supports those that make that decision?

    When it comes to a choice of drinking and driving, the answer should be Zero.
    (And that goes for other driving violations as well: speeding, distracted driving, any form of DUI, etc.)

  • rhodger Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 9:39 a.m.

    oooh! Utah so tough....

  • Paysonite Payson, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 9:26 a.m.

    I am very grateful for this new adjustment of the law and hope it reduces the number of impaired drivers on the road which will save lives. Even if it only saves two more lives a year, it will be worth it.

  • JMOpinion Orem, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 9:07 a.m.

    The ABI and other critics miss the point entirely making their criticism of this law confusing and proof they aren’t concerned with safety. If you are pulled over and field tested it will be because you showed signs of impaired driving. Shouldn’t matter what your BAC is - if you can’t drive safely and without drawing the attention of police and other drivers you shouldn’t be driving at .05 or .08. Don’t drink and drive. Period.

  • ConservativeCommonTater Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 8:57 a.m.

    "Aggielove - Caldwell, ID
    Dec. 26, 2018 8:50 p.m.
    ".05 should be a $5,000 mandatory fine. Suspended drivers license for mandatory 12. They can ride the bus."

    ".08 should be the same as above."

    "Second DUI should mandatory $25,000 fine. Suspended drivers license for mandatory 3 year minimum. "

    "Third offense should be loss of drivers license for lifetime. "

    "No attorney can be used if they have factual blood test at scene of the crime. Yes it€™s a crime."

    You are an example of why religious extremists don't get to make laws...outside of Utah. We are a secular country, not one of laws based on your religious beliefs.

    I'll bet you claim to be a defender of Constitutional rights, except for the parts you don't like.

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 8:43 a.m.

    " BAC of 0.05 at least twice as likely to crash than is a completely sober driver, but this limit also makes clear that a person needs to make transportation arrangements before getting so drunk that he can no longer determine how impaired he is."

    This is about as uninformed a statement as is possible. Crashes are exponentially more likely from a sober person speeding, driving carelessly, or just plain not paying attention than they are from any level of alcohol consumption. Look at the statistics, they just came out again.

    To link a BAC of .05 with being so drunk you don't know how impaired you are is plain bizarre. Fox news and others tested the new law and found that .05 is so low it's extremely difficult to determine (nearly impossible).

    The Tribune just published an article that studied the stats since 2001. There are barely two deaths a year when the driver had a BAC of .05 to .08 as compared to nearly 300 auto fatalities per year. In addition nearly 60% of the two had other exacerbating circumstances, speed, drugs.

    This law is simply an ideological big bad wolf story.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 8:35 a.m.

    Thank you Legislature from all of us who want to get home safely tonight. If the new law doesn't matter in practice, it will still send the message that DWI is not acceptable anywhere in Utah. However, Big Alcohol will continue to fight it for their special interests.

  • TruthBTold SLC, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 8:29 a.m.

    Really? Is it "suffering" to restrain yourself from driving a motor vehicle when you choose to drink 3 or more alcoholic beverages in an hour?

    I can think of numerous forms of TRUE suffering: disease, injury, mental anguish, inability to form a rational thought, death of a loved one, just to name a few. And yes, all of these forms of suffering are results of drinking--and the "inconvenience" of not driving pales in comparison.

    I have no problem if someone decides to drink, that their choice, but their choice (no matter how popular or exciting as it may be portrayed in the media, or acceptable as it might be in other parts of the USA) does not give them the right to endanger me or my loved ones.

    So, drink away, just don't drive when you do it.

    I'm grateful for a state who's legislators are willing to take a popularity hit in order to protect it's citizens, including those who choose to drink.

  • Dennis Harrisville, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 8:22 a.m.

    This is so asinine it's beyond belief.

    Dec. 27, 2018 8:09 a.m.

    To Aggielove:

    What a great idea - get rid of the 6th amendment right to an attorney and trust that the police/government will do everything fair and without mistake. Lets give people with nearly absolute power and a gun even more power. In fact, why not just let them punish the person right on the scene - say a beating with a rubber hose?


    This is they way things work in America:

    The Legislature passes a bill, the Executive signs it into law. The Executive branch (Police and District Attorney) administer the law by bringing cases and evidence to the Judicial Branch. There the Constitution provides for Due Process making sure the other branches are acting correctly.

    The accused is presumed innocent and guaranteed an attorney to make sure he/she is treated fairly. If needed 12 citizens sit in judgment of the facts as a jury and the final true branch of power. They alone can ultimately decide a case - not the police.

    Remember - actual innocence has never been a bar to being prosecuted. Lots of innocent people slip into the system. The goal is to make sure that we don't convict people who have not commit an offense not to satisfy the whims of the mob.

  • emb Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 5:31 a.m.

    I drink no beer. I drive John Deere. Nothing runs like a Deere!

  • jack_greenfield Provo, UT
    Dec. 26, 2018 11:16 p.m.

    The American Beverage Institute has a strong financial interest in making sure people continue drink alcohol freely (notice I didn't use the word "responsibly" in this sentence). Alcohol kills more people on and off the road than any other drug combined. It's time sober up and pay attention to science and stop listening to obviously biased lobbyist organizations.

    This is great legislation based on sound recommendations from the NHTSA and I hope the rest of the nation will follow.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 26, 2018 10:51 p.m.

    Drink all you want. Just don't get behind the wheel after drinking. Period.

    If you drink, don't drive. Simple.

    And yes, put down the cell phone when driving.

    This 0.05 is the same limit (or higher) as in place in much of secular Europe where they love their alcohol. But they simply don't tolerate impaired driving. And neither should we.

    Under the 21st amd, recreational alcohol use in the USA is a privilege, not a right. And we continue to have far too many killed or seriously injured, and far too much property damage from people who choose to drive after drinking. Not only is a person with a BAC of 0.05 at least twice as likely to crash than is a completely sober driver, but this limit also makes clear that a person needs to make transportation arrangements before getting so drunk that he can no longer determine how impaired he is.

    If you're going to drink, just make other arrangements for transportation: a taxi, uber, lyft, the bus or train, a friend, or walking.

    No, you don't drive better after a drink or two. That cell phone use is also dangerous doesn't excuse driving drunk, buzzed, or otherwise impaired. Just don't do it. And don't let friends drive drunk.

  • Texoma kid ,
    Dec. 26, 2018 9:46 p.m.

    Well, there you go. You do see how this works, right?
    First they had to pass an amendment to prohibit the consumption of alcohol. Then they passed an amendment to make consumption legal again, why? Because the government has no authority to tell you what you can inhale or ingest.

    Now, what will you do when they lower the limit further? Folks, this is how your rights are turned into privileges.

    Here's a thought, why not wait until an actual law has been committed? You know, when there is an injured party or property is damaged? That, my friends is what the Founding Principles required.

    Oh well, we don't even know our own constitutional requirements.

  • AlSwearengen Ogden, UT
    Dec. 26, 2018 9:03 p.m.

    This should be interesting experiment. Time will tell if it makes a difference.

  • Aggielove Caldwell, ID
    Dec. 26, 2018 8:50 p.m.

    .05 should be a $5,000 mandatory fine. Suspended drivers license for mandatory 12. They can ride the bus.

    .08 should be the same as above.

    Second DUI should mandatory $25,000 fine. Suspended drivers license for mandatory 3 year minimum.

    Third offense should be loss of drivers license for lifetime.

    No attorney can be used if they have factual blood test at scene of the crime. Yes it’s a crime.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Dec. 26, 2018 6:35 p.m.

    Because Utah legislators like to think of themselves as morally superior to everyone else...

    Another "message bill", but this time, others have to suffer the inconvenience of their arrogance.