Logan Senator Lyle Hillyard addresses Utah’s new DUI legislation

A local lawmaker is pleased that Utah Governor Gary Herbert has signed legislation giving the state the strictest DUI threshold in the country. Governor Herbert has approved a measure that lowers the blood alcohol limit from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.

Republican State Senator Lyle Hillyard of Logan agrees with the governor that the action will save lives once it takes effect in 2018. He said the bill came partially as a result of discussions with the National Safety Transportation Board, which would like to have a 0.05 limit in all 50 states.

“The real problem with a drunk driver is that when you drink alcohol, you don’t know really how it impacts you until 15, 20 to 35 minutes later,” Hillyard said. “It’s not like something you take and, bingo, you know you’re there, and so I’ve seen that as a real danger. People are socially drinking and actually aren’t counting, and they drink more than they should. As they gradually get more and more impacted by it, they sense less and less the danger they create.”

Hillyard said he sees alcohol as especially dangerous because of how it negatively influences the ability of people to drive. Groups representing the restaurant and ski /snowboarding industries urged the governor to veto the measure, saying it would hurt tourism. However, Hillyard said he has seen the limit decrease from 0.15 to 0.10 and now 0.08, and he doesn’t remember any organizations complaining about being hurt by the limit change.  

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