SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – A state senator says Utah’s .05 DUI standard is hurting the state, and he wants to delay implementation of the law.
“All I’m saying is let’s wait until the evidence is there, and then let’s move forward with this dramatic change, because the consequences are drastic and dire,” said Senator Jim Dabakis, (D) Salt Lake City.
He says those consequences include more Utahns getting arrested and booked into jail, and an adverse impact on tourism.
He even had a few drinks to prove his point before the Senate Transportation Committee.
“I had breakfast, and then I went and had two mimosas. And, I breathed at .05, so my entire presentation at .05,” he said.
Senate Bill 210 would delay implementation of the law until three other states adopt the same policy.
It faced strong opposition from members of the committee.
“You have alcohol sales going up, tourism going up and highway fatalities going down. That’s not bad data, and we have national organizations telling us impairment starts at .05,” said Senator Stuart Adams, (R) Layton.
The committee also heard from those who support the bill.
“I’m afraid I have to reject the premise that this about public safety. It is my firm belief, and I believe it is the firm belief of many other people that this is actually about stigmatizing drinking, punishing drinkers,” said Doug Hofeling, CEO of Squatters.
Others spoke in in opposition. Art Brown testified about losing a grandson to a drunk driver.
“I would ask really, Mr. Chairman, members of this committee that this bill die in this committee, so others may live,” said Brown.
That’s essentially what happened. The committee voted to hold the bill on a 3-2 vote.
Dabakis says he has no intention of bringing it back up.
The new law goes into effect on December 30, 2018.