Dabakis says Utah should repeal .05 blood alcohol law if other states don’t adopt similar legislation

Last year Utah adopted the strictest DUI measure in the entire country, setting the blood alcohol limit at .05%. Now, one lawmaker says if other states don’t follow suit, Utah should back off the restrictive policy.

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, has been one of the harshest critics on the Hill of the .05% threshold. He’s proposing SB210 which says if three other states haven’t also adopted the lower blood alcohol limit, then Utah should do away with it altogether.

There is no scientific evidence to support this whatsoever,” says Dabakis. “It’s just a hair pulled out of the blue for political purposes.”

Dabakis’s bill says if by December 29 of this year at least three other states haven’t also dropped their DUI limit to .05%, the measure passed by last year’s legislature is automatically repealed.

Dabakis says the .05 limit is already having a negative effect on Utah’s tourism.

“Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, the states that compete against us are already using this against us,” he said. “Utah’s tourism industry is still trying to recover from losing our biggest convention ever out of pure ideology. This is an opportunity for the Utah Legislature to recover from a serious self-inflicted wound.”

Dabakis’s legislation probably won’t go anywhere this year. However, lawmakers are considering making a change to the DUI law this year. HB328, sponsored by Provo Republican Norm Thurston, allows those who have been drinking to use a firearm in self-defense.