SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah’s strict .05 DUI law was passed back in 2017 and took effect at the end of 2018.

We now have four years of data to look over. Robert Gehrke with the Salt Lake Tribune says the law hasn’t delivered what supporters said it would.

“In the first year it took effect, 2019 was the first year it took effect, we saw a big drop in DUI deaths. And then, the year after that, the year after that, and the year after that it’s gone up, and up, and up to the point we’ve had the three highest years of DUI deaths in the last three years. So, you’ve got to ask the question, are we targeting the wrong thing, and in my mind, we are,” said Gehrke.

He says it’s not the people under the old limit of .08 who are causing the crashes.

“It’s the people who have higher blood alcohol, over .1, .15 in some cases, and that’s where we need to be focusing on our efforts. If we are targeting these people and putting them in jail for these marginal blood alcohol levels, we’re not actually making the roads safer, we’re just putting people in jail,” Gehrke said.

From 2019-2022, about 2100 people were arrested for DUI with a BAC under the old limit.

“There are severe consequences that come with these DUI’s, and we are not seeing the public safety benefit on the other side. I think the .05 benefits were oversold,” Gehrke adds.