Utah 0.05% DUI Bill Gets Unanimous Approval

Utah, already noted for having some of the strictest alcohol-beverage regulations in the U.S., has stiffened drunk-driving rules in that state. Utah House members unanimously passed legislation that lowers the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level for a second drunken driving stop to 0.05% for those with children in the car. Other provisions of the bill allow testing for five illegal drugs, and drivers caught with suspended licenses will face additional penalties. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dana Love (R-Syracuse), had originally proposed reducing BAC limits to 0.02% for first-time offenders driving with children, but revised Utah’s HB 128 to target repeat offenders at the slightly higher BAC limit. She used DUI statistics that showed high rates of child fatalities occurred when children were riding in a vehicle operated by an alcohol-impaired driver. In 2002, 6 children died in DUI-related accidents in Utah. Some lawmakers expressed concern about the stricter rules. One legislator wondered if a father who’d had a few beers after mowing the lawn would be penalized for picking up a sick child at school, citing an enforceability issue. Another legislator replied that it might be fine to go ahead and drink, but it wasn’t fine to get one’s children while under the influence. Love defended the new limits, and stated that they were not about limiting people to a set number of drinks, but about child safety.