A Utah Jazz fan drinks a beer while watching a game at Legend Sports Grill in Salt Lake City last year. A new Utah law, which goes into effect Dec. 30, lowers the DUI blood alcohol threshold in the state from .08 to .05, a move that has been praised by traffic safety advocates and denounced by the restaurant and hospitality industry.
New Year’s Eve usually is an upbeat time for Salt Lake City restaurant owner Hoang Nguyen. But this year, she’ll be worrying about a big change in the state’s DUI law that she says could put a damper on her business.
On Dec. 30, Utah will become the first state to make it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of .05 or higher, rather than the .08 standard that every other state and the District of Columbia use. That means Utah will have the strictest DUI law in the nation.
Nguyen, whose family-owned company, Sapa Investment Group, owns eight restaurants and bars in the Salt Lake Valley, fears that the lower threshold will drive away some customers or prevent them from ordering any alcohol out of fear of being nabbed for driving under the influence.