DUI arrests increased month following beer alcohol limit boost

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Driving under the influence arrests increased in December – a month following the change of the beer alcohol content limit.

In December 2019, 290 people were arrested on Utah roads while driving under the influence (DUI), according to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The change – which took place in November – allows for alcohol sold outside of liquor stores to be 4 percent alcohol by weight, rather than 3.2 percent.

In December 2018, 226 people were arrested while driving intoxicated, according to DPS.

“Certainly, you have to realize that if your regular, run-of-the-mill beer was 3.2 last year and now it’s higher, it’s going to affect you quicker,” said CPL. Andrew Battenfield with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP).

While not enough time has passed to tell if the higher alcohol content is the cause of more arrests in December 2019, Battenfield said on a yearly average, alcohol-related DUIs are on the decline

“There could be a lot of factors in that. We have more troopers on the road this year than we had last year, we have the influence of Uber and Lyft, and share-rides,” Battenfield said.

If a person has a drink before getting behind the wheel, Battenfield encourages people to be responsible and remember the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is no more than .05 percent.

“If you’ve forgotten how many drinks you’ve had, and you think you’ve only had two, you’ve probably had more than two. So, get somebody to give you a ride home,” Battenfield said.

DPS and UHP officials said the number of those killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2019 is not available as of Thursday.

Between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, records show 39 arrests were made by UHP. In the Salt Lake Valley, officers arrested 10 people.

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