The Latest: Utah gov. signs .05 DUI limit, strictest in US

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Posted: Mar 23, 2017 7:20 PM
The Latest: Utah gov. signs .05 DUI limit, strictest in US

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a law giving Utah the strictest DUI threshold in the country (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Utah's governor has signed legislation giving the state the strictest DUI threshold in the country.

Gov. Gary Herbert's office announced Thursday evening that the Republican had approved the measure lowering the blood alcohol limit to 0.05 percent from 0.08 percent. He had told reporters Thursday morning that he intended to sign it because it will save lives.

Groups representing Utah restaurants and the ski and snowboarding industry had urged him to veto the measure, saying it would hurt tourism and punish responsible drinkers.

Conservative groups, auto safety organizations and the National Transportation Safety Board supported the move, saying it would make people think twice about drinking and driving.

Herbert's office said they were inundated with calls about the bill, mostly from people urging him to veto it.

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

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4:20 p.m.

A national auto safety group is applauding Utah's governor for deciding to sign legislation giving the state the strictest DUI threshold in the country.

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says Utah's move to adopt the first 0.05 blood alcohol limit for DUIs is "a sensible solution" for addressing drunk driving.

Utah's governor announced Thursday he'll sign the legislation, lowering the limit from its current threshold at 0.08, despite objections from the hospitality industry.

The auto safety group notes that more than 100 countries have already adopted a 0.05 limit. They say it won't discourage alcohol consumption but it will deter drinking and driving.

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety represents public health, safety and insurance groups and tracks safety laws.

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1:50 p.m.

A national hospitality group says Utah's restaurant and tourism industry will be crippled by the governor's decision to sign legislation giving the state the strictest DUI threshold in the country.

The American Beverage Institute, which represents restaurants, said in a statement Thursday that lowering Utah's blood alcohol limit to 0.05 percent from 0.08 percent could push a 120-pound woman over the legal limit after one drink.

The group says it could lead many people to forgo a drink with dinner, hurting the industry and punishing people who are currently considered responsible drinkers.

The group took out full-page advertisements in Salt Lake City's two daily newspapers and USA Today, featuring a fake mugshot under a large headline reading, "Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation."

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says the new limit will save lives.

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12:20 p.m.

Utah's governor says that while he's signing legislation giving the state the strictest DUI threshold in the country, he will call lawmakers into a special session this summer for "some areas of improvement" to the law.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters Thursday that he thinks it will save lives to lower Utah's blood alcohol limit to 0.05 percent from 0.08 percent, but he'll ask lawmakers to consider a tiered punishment system. That could mean less stringent penalties for those convicted of driving with a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.07 percent.

The governor says Utah may need to look at punishments for multiple offenders, other distracted driving and unintended consequences that the lower limit will have on matters like auto insurance rates.

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

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10:45 a.m.

Utah's governor has announced he will sign legislation giving the state the strictest DUI threshold in the country.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday said he plans to approve the measure lowering the blood alcohol limit to 0.05 percent from 0.08 percent.

Restaurant groups and representatives of the ski and snowboard industry had urged him to veto the bill, arguing it would hurt Utah's image and punish responsible adults who drink instead of catching drivers who are actually impaired.

Supporters of the legislation argue that impairment begins with the first drink and anyone consuming alcohol should not get behind the wheel.

The National Transportation Safety Board has encouraged states to adopt a .05 percent limit.

Utah's new threshold would take effect on Dec. 30, 2018, just before New Year's Eve.