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Ad targeting Utah's .05 percent DUI law to run in Las Vegas newspaper

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SALT LAKE CITY — A national organization's ongoing fight against Utah's lowest-in-the-nation legal blood alcohol content for driving will hit a Nevada newspaper Wednesday.

The American Beverage Institute plans to take out a full-page ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that reads, "Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation." The group, based in Washington, D.C., has run that ad or similar ones in newspapers in Utah, Colorado and Idaho.

"This law fails to target the dangerous drunk drivers who cause the vast majority of alcohol-related fatalities and instead targets moderate, responsible drinkers," said Sarah Longwell, the beverage institute's executive director.

The organization has also launched an online petition opposing the .05 percent blood alcohol content law state legislators approved and Gov. Gary Herbert signed earlier this year.

The Legislature's Transportation Interim Committee started reviewing the new law for any unintended consequences last week. It heard from law enforcement and criminal defense attorneys. The committee intends to take testimony from the tourism and hospitality industries at its June meeting.

Lawmakers want to consider possible changes, such as reducing the penalties for violations between .05 percent and .08 percent before the law takes effect Dec. 30, 2018.

Some committee members questioned the need to revisit the law.

"If there are really things that we had no idea, didn't even think about, great. But we did intend to lower the BAC limit. We did intend to reduce the number of drunk driving trips a day," Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, said at the meeting.

Thurston sponsored the legislation.

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Dennis Romboy


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